Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives are keen in engage and will help plug a gap in Australia’s Indo Pacific strategy.
Australia’s focus on building the India relationship has led to the relative neglect of other important Indian Ocean states. This has left a hole in its Indo Pacific strategy.
Last month, Foreign Minister Marise Payne announced a raft of new Australian initiatives in the northeast Indian Ocean as a move towards Australia’s enhanced engagement in that region. It may not yet be an “Indian Ocean Step-up”, but at least it’s a move in the right direction.
The National Security College (NSC), with the support of the Department of Defence, is leading a multi-year research project on Australia’s Indo-Pacific strategy in the Indian Ocean. As a part of this project, this paper analyses Australia’s newly announced initiatives to increase engagement in the northeast Indian Ocean. This paper first appeared in the Lowy Institute’s ‘The Interpreter’ on 2 March 2022.
Image: CPL Robert Whitmore/Australia Defence Image Library