Underscoring that uncertainty and increasing competition in the Indo-Pacific leaves no room for complacency, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne recently called for a deeper strategic partnership with India, supporting its role as a strategic anchor in the region.
Delivering a Ministerial Address at the fourth edition of Raisina Dialogue, Minister Payne stated that as competition intensifies, Australia and India have shared interests in ensuring the peaceful development of an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo‑Pacific region.
She said Australia believes that all nations have a responsibility to work together to keep the Indo-Pacific open, prosperous and stable; and also to protect the international rules that support stability and enable cooperation to tackle global challenges.
Payne said Australia was keen on building stronger regional institutions and norms that manage regional peace and security. She called on other partners in the region to promote openness and resilience among regional countries to withstand coercion.
She pointed out that the determination to build a positive future is not just an Australian view. It is also strongly shared by India.
“For Australia, building on our successful partnership with India is critical. Together, we can best support shared interests in the Indian Ocean. We shouldn’t be doing that only for ourselves though, but for all of our friends and partners in the immediate Indian Ocean region and beyond, and in a way that is truly open and free for all nations,” she added.
India, she said would be the cornerstone of Australia’s security policy in the Indo-Pacific, highlighting the growing importance of the bilateral AUSINDEX maritime exercises.
She also mentioned the Quadrilateral Initiative, noting that Australia would also support multilateral mechanisms to safeguard peace in the Indo-Pacific.
Payne underlined the need for the creation of Indian Ocean Regional Architecture.
She added that Australia is playing its role in building regional links with nations in the Pacific region and improving maritime cooperation.
To this end, the Minister announced that Australia would support building regional economic connectivity in South Asia through a new South Asia Regional Infrastructure Connectivity initiative, known as SARIC.
Outlining the initiative, she said that it was a $25 million programme over four years, which will begin this year and focus on improving the quality of infrastructure and investment particularly in transport and energy sectors.
She concluded by calling on India and Australia to build a “positive character” for the Indo-Pacific—one that is “open, prosperous, stable and secure.”