Independent Strategic Analysis of Australia’s Global Interests


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.

Wildfires, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change

Until recently, carbon released into the atmosphere from wildfires was not considered a significant component of atmospheric greenhouse gas as it was assumed that over the climatic cycle this carbon would be returned to vegetative re-growth. In Australia this may well be the case. Globally, however, a growing body of evidence suggests that carbon produced by wildfires is making a significant contribution to the volume of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere where it contributes to climate change.

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.

Indian Farm Bills Seek to Liberalise Agricultural Markets

The legislation is designed to give Indian farmers greater bargaining power in agricultural markets, which could improve their financial position and Indian food security.

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.

US Launches Mekong Partnership as Chinese Debt Trap Closes on Laos

Washington launched a new partnership with Mekong countries to counter rising Chinese influence in continental South-East Asia. As parts of the region are pulled closer into Beijing’s orbit, however, it is unlikely that the new partnership will alter the geopolitical situation.

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.

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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