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.

The US Element: Diego Garcia as a Strategic Dilemma for India

26 November 2020 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

With its growing strategic engagement with Washington now short of formal alliance, India must not only consider the disadvantages generated by the US Indian Ocean presence, but also the effect of any future withdrawal of US forces and the likelihood of an ensuing vacuum filled by China. Thus, there are obvious advantages for India in the continued US presence on Diego Garcia, but its commitment to decolonisation and support for Mauritius has created a conundrum.

Rizieq’s Return Unwelcome News for Australia

The presence of the firebrand cleric in Indonesia will make Canberra uncomfortable as he represents a cultural shift that could further alienate the two countries and complicate any initiatives towards gaining a better understanding of each other.

Tigray Violence Threatens Ethiopian Transformation

With the country already riven along ethnic lines, the escalating violence between government forces and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front further threatens both Ethiopia’s recent advancements and its future progress.

Boosting Trade and Investment Integration among Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Countries: Professor Peter Draper

24 November 2020 | Feature Interviews, Indian Ocean

Each of the five IORA sub-regions contains core member states that are driving trading patterns and trade integration across the wider IORA region. It is a region with tremendous demographic potential, which will be significant from a trade and investment point of view. As a leader in the mining and services sectors, Australia should be looking more closely at ways to harness the demographic and economic growth of the East Africa sub-region, where, in the medium term and beyond, there is a lot of potential in those areas.

Gilgit-Baltistan as Pakistan’s New Province could be a Game-Changer in Indo-Pacific Geopolitics

19 November 2020 | Associate Papers, Indian Ocean

Pakistan is set to make Gilgit-Baltistan, in the disputed Kashmir region, its fifth province. India has strongly condemned that decision and has asked Pakistan to vacate what it considers an occupied area. China is a major stakeholder in the region and has been pressuring Pakistan to exert more control over the area, with India’s response to that a critical factor in shaping the geopolitics of the Subcontinent. Amid this zero-sum game, the interests of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan do not occupy much space.

Pakistan Releases “Proof” of Indian-Sponsored Terrorism: Does it Matter?

Pakistan’s release of “proof” of Indian-sponsored terrorism in Pakistan will further substantiate the beliefs of those who suspect India is complicit in those events and cause others who see it as more unsubstantiated Pakistani claims to dismiss the charges out of hand. Nothing has changed.

Russia to Build Red Sea Naval Base

The proposed naval logistics facility on the Sudanese coast continues Russia’s quest to regain influence in the Middle East and Horn of Africa regions in the face of competition from the United States, China, Japan and Western Europe.

The US-India Relationship after Trump: A Return to Convention?

Unlike his predecessor, President Biden is likely to favour working more closely with US friends and allies on geopolitical, economic and environmental issues of concern. While absolute convergence is impossible between any two countries, there are nonetheless more convergences than divergences between the US and India, and President Biden’s likely more flexible approach towards Iran, his difference in approach to immigration issues, and even in countering China, are some of the areas for potentially greater synergies between New Delhi and the Biden White House.

South Africa Welcomes Biden Presidency

South Africa will be looking forward to working with a more globally-attuned White House from January 2021, but the scale and nature of the domestic issues in the US mean that Pretoria will have to work hard to capture the attention of the new president.

Another Chinese Red Line Crossed? US Marines Train in Taiwan

If reports that US Marines are training Taiwanese troops in Taiwan are true, it would appear that the US is deliberately challenging China. That would be seen regionally and beyond as a deliberate insult to the Chinese Communist Party, one that is calculated to provoke a response from China’s leaders or see them diminished in the eyes of the region and domestically.

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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