India and Australia would face common challenges in the Indo-Pacific as COVID-19 was stretching much of the world’s governmental capacity, Barry O’Farrell, Australian High Commissioner-designate, said in an address to the National Defence College (NDC) through videoconference. He called for greater cooperation, especially among India, Australia and Indonesia.
Cooperation between India and Australia in southeast Asia was a natural fit. “As a starting point, we should build on last year’s successful trilateral maritime security workshop with Indonesia to identify new ways that our three countries can collaborate to be the best possible custodians of the Indian Ocean,” he said.
In a separate development, the Australian High Commission, in coordination with the MEA, gave a ride to India’s Ambassador to Indonesia Pradeep Rawat and his family in one of the repatriation flights to Australia that had a stopover at Denpasar in Indonesia, official sources said.
Diplomatic sources said: “Australia was very happy and keen to help two of our strongest Indo-Pacific partners, India and Indonesia, in this matter. The trilateral cooperation had been growing and would continue to be important as we considered the implications of COVID-19 for Indo-Pacific regional order.”
Mr. O’Farrell said COVID-19 would not necessarily change the nature of threats but would hasten the pace at which they were developing.