Global Times special correspondent in Australia: Li Feng
The latest report published by The United States Study Center at the University of Sydney in Australia says, in order to counterbalance the rise of China, Australia should strengthen its relations with India, and open the Darwin port and its military facility located in the country’s Northern Territory to India.
Sydney Morning Herald reported on August 25 that the author of the said report, Professor David Brewster from Australian National University believes that Australia should be part of the rapidly developing security relations between the US and India. “Though the US-India strategic relationship is driven by several factors, the most straightforward is the perceived threat presented by China to the regional order,” the report states. The report thinks India is worried about the possibility that the US may pull back from Asia, fearing that China would fill the vacuum. Brewster says India aspires to play a more important role by expanding relations with the United States in the region. But Australian diplomacy clearly has not caught up with the pace of the US.
Sydney Morning Herald says that the United States and India are expected to soon conclude a landmark agreement giving one another access to their own military facilities, such as air bases and ports. Brewster believes that Australia and India should also develop a similar relationship, “When US and India are engaging in activities in the Indian Ocean, it is essential that we’re there,” he said. On the other hand, the presence of Indian troops in Australia for training and other things has significance to New Delhi in symbolic terms. In his view, Australia should be more actively pressing for high-level, three-way strategic dialogue with the US and India.
But it looks like the Australian government is not lagging behind in terms of external security cooperation as the Australian think tank worries. Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on August 25 that Japan’s Defense Minister Tomomi Inada held talks with the visiting Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne on that day. Regarding the South China Sea issue, the two sides asked China to comply with the so-called arbitration ruling on South China Sea. During the talks they confirmed about strengthening defense cooperation in the future, and coordinating during the current year for consultations between the Foreign Ministers and Defence Ministers of Japan and Australia (2 + 2 consultations). This is the first meeting between the Defence Ministers of Japan and Australia after a lapse of nine months.