India and Australia set a course to lead in the Indian Ocean

Last Thursday a “virtual” meeting set the course for the Indian Ocean region.

Australia’s PM Scott Morrison and Indian PM Narendra Modi met online.

Both shared the same problem – how to ensure security in “our” Indian Ocean region when China is becoming so active there.

These two leaders have ensured that for decades the two countries will become even closer strategic friends, and that both will lead in determining power in the Indian Ocean.

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Neither country ever expresses expansionist plans. Both just want the freedom and security they cherish.

This is a real boost to the India-Australia relationship because, let’s face it, there has not been much spark of interest between the two countries. Lots of words, but nothing tangible. Modi and Morrison have changed all that. Now it is real.

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What security deals came out of the meeting?

First, allowing reciprocal access to each other’s military bases for logistics support such as refuelling and maintenance. Sounds mundane, but it is a key step to closer military exercises and training.

Second a maritime cooperation agreement supporting the “rules-based” maritime order in the region, founded on respect for the sovereignty of all nations and international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. “Rules based” means “not China”.

Third, an agreement to cooperate on critical cyber and other technologies.

There were six other agreements and commentators are saying the two leaders found many ways of implying that “this is all about China”.

But I think it is really about the future of the Indian Ocean.

The two countries – India and Australia – have middle level defensive capacities and could unite a string of countries in the region in some form of security net. Likely additions would be Vietnam and Indonesia.

It will be values based. Modi told Morrison, “it is our sacred responsibility to uphold and protect values for global good like democracy, rule of law, freedom, mutual respect, regard for international institutions and transparency.” These values, he said, were under challenge.

This Indian Ocean deal could make the region one of stability at a time of China’s rise to power and the unpredictability – and decline – of the USA.

 

Author: Stephen Manallack

Former President, Australia India Business Council, Victoria and Author, You Can Communicate; Riding the Elephant; Soft Skills for a Flat World (published by Tata McGraw-Hill INDIA); Communicating Your Personal Brand. Director, EastWest Academy Pty Ltd and Trainer/Speaker/Mentor in Leadership, Communication and Cross Cultural Communication. Passionate campaigner for closer western relations with India. Stephen Manallack is a specialist on “Doing Business with India” and advisor/trainer on “Cross-Cultural Understanding”. He is a Director of EastWest Academy Pty Ltd which provides strategic advice and counsel regarding business relations with India. A regular speaker in India on leadership and global communication, his most recent speaking tour included a speech to students of the elite Indian university, Amity University, in Noida. He also spoke at a major Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) global summit, the PR Consultants Association of India in Delhi, the Symbiosis University in Pune and Cross-Cultural Training for Sundaram Business Services in Chennai. He has visited India on business missions on 10 occasions and led three major trade missions there. He provides cross-cultural training – Asia and the west.

One thought on “India and Australia set a course to lead in the Indian Ocean”

  1. A succinct and a very well timely presentation by Stephen. Here is my take on this. Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and the Hon Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia jointly participated in an India-Australia Leaders’ Virtual Summit on 04 June 2020. The importance of this meeting was that, notwithstanding the covid19 pandemic, both countries decided to initiate a mutually beneficial bilateral Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). Under this, both countries decided to work together in the areas of mutual cooperation for enhancing science, technology and research collaboration for saving lives and managing the economic impacts of COVID-19, and future global challenges. Both countries going forward will share the benefits of scientific and medical research and development, strengthen healthcare systems, exchange of best practices so as to improve capacity for global pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response. the outcome of this will be a one-off special COVID-19 collaboration Round in 2020 where best practices and solution will be discussed. Another timely and importance initiative is in the MSME sector. Basically both sides have committed to fostering collaboration between entrepreneurs, developing innovative products and promoting start-ups and incubation centres. Both countries wish to enhance cooperation in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector and decided that major industries of both countries should endeavour to integrate the SME/MSMEs of the other country into their supply chains, thereby diversifying bilateral trade and will be involving the Australia India Business Exchange program for this purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

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