No single power should dominate the Indo-Pacific region, or carry out “coercive” policies said Australian Minister Marise Payne ahead of the first India-Australia Defence and Foreign Ministers “2+2” meeting in Delhi on Saturday,. Ms. Payne also said that India and Australia shared a vision for the region, which is “open, inclusive and resilient”
“[India and Australia] seek a region in which the rights of all states large or small are respected…with a strategic balance where no single dominant power dictates the outcomes for others,” said Ms. Payne, delivering the 3rd Indo-Pacific Oration at the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi.
Ms. Payne referred to “escalatory” actions in the region in remarks understood to point to China’s actions in the South China Sea, aggression at the Line of Actual Control with India and its economic boycott of Australian goods including barley and wine.
“Australia stands with India and other countries of the region in opposing destabilising and escalatory actions,” Ms. Paynes said adding that the neighbourhood must build a strategic culture that is “not a might is right mentality or coercive tactics”.
When asked how China’s actions could be deterred, Ms. Payne added that Australia had acted “consistently and clearly” in its national interest, and had launched appeals at the World Trade Organisation against Chinese economic measures.
The Australian Foreign Minister also spoke of the evolution of the Quad partnership, which will see the first in-person summit of leaders of US, India, Australia and Japan in Washington on September 24.
“[The Quad] is a diplomatic network, it is not aimed at any one country, and its vision is pan regional…all the countries of the Quad have articulated what they want to see…freedom, security and stability.
Ms. Payne outlined a number of challenges in the region including climate change, the persistent threat of terrorism, cyber and critical technology challenges, and the the emerging threat of “dangerous disinformation”.
On Saturday, Ms. Payne and Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton will meet with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and are expected to issue a joint statement on outcomes of their talks on future strategic cooperation.