India and Australia share strategic interests in the Indian Ocean, not so much in the “Indo-Pacific”

Russian Deputy PM Denis Manturov this week in Delhi announced India and Russia are close to an FTA – further evidence of India’s “Multi-Alignment”

INTO INDIA was so pleased to see Economics Correspondent for The Age, Matt Wade, today writing about the shared Indian Ocean region strategic interests of India and Australia.

This is such a refreshing shift from the rhetoric about the QUAD (India, Australia< Japan and USA) so called strategic alignment for the “Indo-Pacific Region”.

One of the clumsiest terms of recent diplomacy has been the concept of an “Indo-Pacific Region”. A quick glance at a map shows this to be wide of the mark.

But the same glance at the map will quickly show why India and Australia worry about the Indian Ocean region – they both need this area to be safe and open for maritime activity and stable for economic development. It is also realistic for these two countries to combine for peace and stability in the Indian Ocean.

It is just not realistic to expect India to share in security interests for the Pacific.

India has traditionally been a “non-alignment” country, which happens to be close in defence to Russia.

It is now promoting the concept of “Multi-Alignment”. Of course, the USA (and Australia) do not understand this at all, believing in the power of taking sides.

That is why they have been so hopeful that India coming into the QUAD is a sign of India shifting towards “taking sides” and moving “our” way.

Not happening.

Here is one piece of evidence that India maintains an independent and “Multi-Alignment” program – at a time when the western alliance is condemning Russia, this week India and Russia have announced progress towards a free trade agreement, to build stronger trade and investment in both countries – according to Russia’s deputy prime minister Denis Manturov, speaking at an event in New Delhi with India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar on Monday.

There you go. Multi-alignment is the modern incarnation of India’s historic “Non-alignment”.

We will have to get used to it.

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.

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