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.

Ethiopia Accused of Weaponising Food in Tigrayan Conflict

While it is difficult to prove the allegation that Addis Ababa deliberately blocked the delivery of food aid, it is likely to tarnish the reputation of its reform-minded Prime Minister.

Whither US Africa Policy under the Biden Administration?

Confronted by serious domestic issues, the Biden Administration is likely to continue the Africa policy of its predecessor but, as that is framed largely through the lens of China’s presence on the continent, it may become necessary for Washington to finesse its Africa policy sooner rather than later.

Sino-Indian Confidence-Building Measures: A Waste of Time

China’s duplicitous breaches of the terms of the agreements that it has entered into with India are one consequence of India’s failed policy of strategic autonomy.

Modi Government Caught Up in a Serious Protest, Again

After India’s Parliament passed three agriculture-related Acts in September that farmers want repealed, the Supreme Court temporarily suspended them and asked the government and the farmers to jointly resolve the matter. The question is, will the government give in to one of the largest protests seen in India or withstand it?

Death Bells Tolling for Turkmenistan’s neo-Soviet Government?

Political protest is beginning rise in Turkmenistan and, due to the worsening state of the economy and influence of the Turkmen diaspora, the nascent movement may even have a genuine chance of overthrowing the repressive Democratic Party of Turkmenistan.

India and the Strategic Salience of The Vanilla Islands

19 January 2021 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

The islands of the south-western Indian Ocean – Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Réunion and Seychelles – sit astride important chokepoints and Sea Lines of Communication and are gaining prominence in India’s strategic calculus. Enhanced statecraft, a forward presence of the Indian Navy and closer relations with France, including via a “Quad Plus” security dialogue, are ways for India to step up its engagement in the region while also contributing to the continuation of the rules-based order in the waters around the Vanilla Islands.

Conflict with China Is Not Inevitable … But the Chances of One Are Increasing

China’s current strategies of economic and military coercion and territorial “salami-slicing” are causing other countries to view it as a predator and untrustworthy and they are aligning and coalescing in an effort to balance and, if required, counter its predatory behaviour. The result is a situation that could easily get out of hand and lead to conflict.

Indonesia: Issues to Watch for in 2021

Indonesia may see the worst of the pandemic in 2021 and Australia should closely watch how Jakarta’s relationship with Beijing develops. The fate of the hardline Front Pembela Islam may also be decided, which could have a significant impact on the broader community.

Republicans and Democrats Squabble as Public Confidence in the US Election Erodes

It is probable that President-elect Joseph Biden will take the oath of President of the US on 20 January; whether he will be recognised as such by half of that country’s voters remains to be seen.

Too Many Eggs in the Dragon’s Basket? Part Two: Diversifying Australia’s Export Base

15 December 2020 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

Despite serious current issues, Australia’s export reliance on China as a key destination for commodity exports will continue, but concurrent initiatives to broaden and grow the export base have to be pursued. While Australia has an unequivocal global advantage in resources and human capital, a 50-year strategy with practicable, achievable pathways to achieving a broader and deeper export base should still be developed.

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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