Independent Strategic Analysis of Australia’s Global Interests

Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean is critical to global trade and food and energy security. Resources increasingly are being exploited by its littoral and island states. It is also a stage for the pursuit of global strategic and regional military and security interests.

Peace Process Remains Fragile in the Thai Deep South

Although the initiation of the peace talks between Bangkok and the separatists earlier this year signalled a potential rapprochement between the two camps, it is still unclear that it will lead to a long-term peaceful resolution to the insurgency in Thailand’s Deep South.

Decoding Chinese Strategic Intent in the Standoff at the Line of Actual Control

29 September 2020 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

Sino-Indian military posturing and muscle-flexing continues in the eastern Ladakh region. Alongside diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India should insist on the proper delimitation and demarcation of the LAC, pending a permanent settlement of the border, while also firmly holding its ground in any prolonged standoff through the approaching winter.

Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste: Australia’s Struggling Neighbours

PNG and Timor-Leste are both facing significant economic and political obstacles and are likely to turn towards China for help. Australia is not in a strong position to offer a counterbalance.

Japan’s Foreign Policy: Suga Set to Follow Path Set by Abe

Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s new Prime Minister, will likely continue down the foreign policy path set by his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, as he inherits pressing domestic issues ranging from COVID-19 to the economy and a new East Asian security framework.

Sri Lanka’s Dependence on China Adds to India’s Security Dilemma

22 September 2020 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

The return of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lankan Prime Minister will likely attract further Chinese investments and loans to the country, but has caused concern in New Delhi about Colombo’s further inclination towards Beijing. India, with its sluggish economic growth and limited financial capacity to lure Sri Lanka away from China, must instead continue to support Sri Lanka in in such matters as housing projects, education, health, transportation systems, small and medium business development and training.

Perspectives on Papua: Will Indonesia Loosen its Grip?

The issue of independence in West Papua will likely reignite as Indonesia renews its autonomy laws for the region. The prospects for West Papua’s independence movement are bleak; Indonesia simply has too much at stake in the region and does not face enough external pressure to hold an independence referendum. Further compounding matters, in the current geopolitical climate, concerns relating to China will also heighten sensitivities surrounding the potential vulnerability of an independent West Papua.

France Strengthens Partnership with India as First Rafale Fighters Delivered to IAF

At a ceremony to hand over the first tranche of 36 Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force, French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly was clear about her country’s support for India as a primary strategic partner.

China’s Continuing Conundrum: The US in the Maldives and Palau

Washington’s upgraded relationship with the Maldives and its invitation to build ports and bases in Palau can only add to Beijing’s consternation – and increase the likelihood of conflict between them.

Indo-US Relations under a Biden Presidency and the Kamala Harris Factor

15 September 2020 | Indian Ocean, Strategic Analysis Paper

Neither Democrats nor Republicans can afford to ignore India or the Indian-American community, sizeable proportions of which are located in key battleground states. Given the size of India as a market and its increasing strategic relevance, a future Biden Presidency is unlikely to significantly change the direction of US foreign policy towards India. What remains to be seen is whether the choice of Kamala Harris as his running mate helps Joe Biden in attracting more of the South Asian vote in general and the Indian vote in particular.

Indonesia-India Maritime Defence Relations: Time for a More Robust Partnership

10 September 2020 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean, Indonesia

Indonesia, and to a lesser extent India, have jurisdiction over the major maritime choke points of the Malacca Strait, the Six-Degree Channel and the Sunda Strait, through all of which large volumes of maritime trade pass. Both have been made uneasy by China’s expansionist maritime activities and its ambivalence towards international law. As custodians of vital maritime choke points, India and Indonesia have a duty to ensure that the rules-based order is maintained in those waters.

Publication Guide

  • Associate papers are primary source assessments written by FDI associates. The assessment topics range from regional bilateral relationships and opportunities and challenges in our neighbouring countries.

  • Feature interviews are interviews conducted by an FDI Research Manager. Interview topics range from the sustainability of our planet to the improved provision of emergency food aid.

  • Normally issued in hardcopy, these represent a comprehensive study of one of FDI’s four research areas.

  • Strategic alerts are priority current intelligence items. We provide these alerts when events such as military deployments or foreign election results occur.

  • A 1500 to 3000 word, single topic assessment.

  • A number of short articles addressing current intelligence topics, issued each week.

  • A record of discussions resulting from a single, or series of, roundtable conferences.

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