Australia's Defence Strategic Review calls for expansion of relationship with India and Japan
The review has defined the Indo-Pacific as “the most important geostrategic region in the world.”
NEW DELHI: In the most significant Defence Strategic Review carried out by Australia since World War II, India has been termed as a “key power”.
The review, released on Monday says, “Investing in Indo-Pacific regional defence partnerships is critical and must be focused on Australia’s primary area of military interest.” It adds, “Australia must continue to expand its relationships and practical cooperation with key powers, including Japan and India.”
The Australian reviewers have defined the Indo-Pacific as “the most important geostrategic region in the world.”
India’s approach has been in favour of a free, open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific, based upon respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations, peaceful resolution of disputes through dialogue and adherence to international rules and laws. India’s concept of the Indo-Pacific is inclusive in nature, and supports an approach that respects the right to freedom of navigation and overflight for all in the international seas.
Launching the Defense Strategic Review in Canberra, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his government’s strategy was designed to make Australia more self-reliant, prepared and secure.
“We cannot fall back on old assumptions. We must build and strengthen our security by seeking to shape the future rather than waiting for the future to shape us,” Albanese said.
The review says, “The Albanese government commissioned an independent Defence Strategic Review to assess whether Australia had the necessary defence capability, posture and preparedness to best defend Australia and its interests in the strategic environment we now face.”
The review defines Australia’s strategic circumstances and says the risks the country faces “are now radically different”.
“No longer is our alliance partner, the United States, the unipolar leader of the Indo-Pacific. Intense China-United States competition is the defining feature of our region and our time. Major power competition in our region has the potential to threaten our interests, including the potential for conflict,” the review says.
Assessing the modernisation of military forces of regional countries, it says, “China’s military build-up is now the largest and most ambitious of any country since the end of the Second World War."
The review, assessing the Chinese build-up, says it is occurring “without transparency or reassurance to the Indo-Pacific region of China’s strategic intent.”
“China’s assertion of sovereignty over the South China Sea threatens the global rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific in a way that adversely impacts Australia’s national interests,” it adds.
Elaborating on alliances and regional defence partnerships, the review says, “Our alliance with the United States will remain central to Australia’s security and strategy. The United States will become even more important in the coming decades.”
Elaborating on statecraft, the review talks of external approaches including measures such as the adoption of the strategic framework of the Indo-Pacific; expanding regional strategic multilateral, trilateral and bilateral partnerships, including the reinstatement of the Quad partnership with Japan, India and the United States; enhancing United States Alliance force posture arrangements in Australia; and capability development.