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.

South Africa, Mozambique to Undertake Joint Anti-Piracy Patrols

Background The South African and Mozambican Defence Ministers have agreed to conduct joint anti-piracy patrols along the Mozambique coast. Under the agreement, the two countries will also conduct joint training and intelligence sharing. Somali pirates have begun operating in the northern reaches of the Mozambique Channel, in response to international anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf...

Instability Continues in Yemen

Background Clashes between forces supporting Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and tribesmen loyal to Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahman continue as Saleh refuses for the third time to accept a GCC-sponsored request to step down. Comment A decisive outcome appears unlikely in the short term. Neither side has the military means nor the authority to defeat the...

Saudi Arabia Proposes anti-Iran Alliance

Background Saudi Arabia has asked Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Central Asian republics to join it and its Gulf allies in an alliance, aimed at containing the influence of Iran and supporting the Saudi-led intervention in Bahrain. While these countries are yet to openly come out in favour of such a grouping, the United States...

China Refutes Gwadar Naval Base Conjecture

Background The Pakistani Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar has affirmed that Pakistan is appreciative of China’s willingness to operate Gwadar port, and is also keen to see that ‘a naval base is constructed at the site of Gwadar for Pakistan.’ Predictably, the remarks attracted international attention. They reinforced existing views among foreign commentators, who believe that...

Sudan Violence Returns; Energy Interests Threatened

Background Northern Sudanese armed forces recently took over the disputed region of Abyei, which lies on the border between northern and, soon-to-be-independent, southern Sudan. While the recent clashes have so far mainly been confined to Abyei, the potential for an escalation of violence still exists. Should that occur, it would not only negatively affect a...

Democratic Alliance Consolidates Position as South African Opposition

Background In South African local government elections held on 18 May, the Democratic Alliance (DA) consolidated its support in Cape Town, Western Cape Province and the Midvaal municipality, to cement its place as the country’s chief opposition party. DA officials see it as confirmation that the tide is very slowly but surely beginning to turn...

India’s Naval Modernisation Programme: Specifics, Rationale and Implications

16 May 2011 | Indian Ocean

Download PDF    Key Points India’s naval modernisation programme is an ambitious plan, which: Reflects India’s growing international profile Aims to enhance India’s economic and energy security   Includes the acquisition of an indigenously-built nuclear submarine and three aircraft carriers Would lead to a significant expansion of India’s maritime area of operations Could encourage China and...

India, Australia and the United States in the Indian Ocean Region: A Growing Strategic Convergence

12 May 2011 | Indian Ocean

Download PDF Summary Despite the lack of success of a number of past initiatives, now may be the time to consider an India-Australia-United States trilateral security architecture. Such an arrangement would not only benefit all three countries themselves, but also the Indian Ocean region as a whole. Under such an arrangement, the three countries would...

Pakistan’s Strategic and Foreign Policy Objectives

5 May 2011 | Indian Ocean

Download PDF   Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe FDI Senior Analyst   Key Points Pakistan’s foreign policy initiatives are an attempt to preserve the state’s legitimacy, stability and security, by: Attempting to secure access to new sources of energy, both domestically and regionally with Iran and Central Asia. Viewing Iran as an important source of energy, a counterweight...

Australia and the New Great Game in East Africa

3 May 2011 | Indian Ocean

Download PDF    Summary Over the last decade the declining influence of the West in East Africa has seen the balance of power increasingly move in favour of the emerging powerhouses of China and India. The two rising powers are actively vying for political and economic influence and access to the region’s coveted mineral deposits...

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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