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.
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.
The imposition of Chinese trade barriers against Australian agricultural exports have been widely reported, but they leave a series of unanswered questions. Why is China targeting particular industries with particular instruments? What are the costs of the barriers for Australia and China? What are the drivers from within China? How can Australia realistically respond?
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.
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.
FDI invites you to view the video From the Ground Up – Regenerative Agriculture, directed, produced, videoed and edited by filmmaker Amy Browne for Festival 21. Inspired by Charles Massy’s best-selling book “Call of the Reed Warbler”, Amy set out across the dry farming country of South East NSW to meet Charles and the other innovative farmers bringing new life to their land. Regenerative agriculture is one of the most promising wide-scale environmental solutions. This short documentary is a comprehensive journey through a variety of landscapes and regenerative farming techniques.
The reactions of France, India, Turkey and Pakistan to the killing of Samuel Paty, a French middle-school teacher, are characteristic of regional powers interacting in a multipolar world. All are utilising the situation to acquire advantages where achievable, and the implications of Monsieur Paty’s killing extend far beyond the streets of Paris.
Rather than physical expansion, India is actually working towards enhancing its commercial and financial strategies, with the overall focus being the Indian economy. As such, Akhand Bharat is an internal policy of the Modi Government to motivate Indians into realising their nationalistic responsibilities for progressing India’s economy, while “Greater India” is an external policy to re-develop the influence of Hindu culture, also with the aim of enhancing economic benefits for India.
China is manifestly Australia’s principal two-way trading partner. Australian exports of goods and services to China were worth $153 billion and constituted 32.6 per cent of all exports. Over the past six months, the Chinese Government has either denied, or given indication of restricting, a range of Australian exports, including barley, meat, wine, cotton and services. Given that alternative or substitute markets either do not exist, or take time and market development to form, a strategic reappraisal of Australia’s export base is required.
India has solid bilateral relations with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, both of which have normalised their relations with Israel, and with Israel itself, aided by the shared right-wing political values of Prime Ministers Modi and Netanyahu. India’s juggling of those relationships and those with Iran and the United States, constitutes skilful relationship management.