India’s and Australia’s interests in the region are very much aligned, said Marise Payne

India is showing its leadership in contributing to a peaceful, secure and prosperous region under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has said.

Payne, who is in India to take part in the maiden India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue scheduled on Saturday, was delivering the Special Address at the Third Indo-Pacific Oration organized by Observer Research Foundation on Friday.

“It’s certainly an important time to witness the continued rise of a new India, a country that is ancient and modern, confident, vibrant and aspirational and tech savvy and it is proudly democratic, outward looking and a leading Indo-Pacific power,” Payne stated.

She said that India's and Australia's contemporary strategic, economic and geopolitical interests in the region were very much aligned.

“The direction of Australia’s economic interests in our region was historically Northern, but our modern Indo-Pacific vision has us looking to our Western horizon across the Indian Ocean as well, reconginzing India’s pivotal role in the wider region,” the Australian Foreign Minister explained.

“This expansive view of our region has never been more important, as the Indo-Pacific faces significant challenges, the most immediate of these is of course Covid-19, which has had significant impacts on the health, development, the economic prosperity of every country in our religion,” she added.

“All Australians watched with heartfelt concern as India responded to the serious surge of Covid-19 this year. Just as Indians did when Australians faced terrible bushfires last year,” Payne noted.

Highlighting India’s impressive progress in manufacturing and distributing vaccines, she said, “We look forward to continue working with India and of course other Quad partners to expand access to vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region.”

The Australian Foreign Minister pointed out that Australia and India share a particular vision of the Indo-Pacific region that is open and inclusive and resilient and a region in which states cooperate and differences based on international rules and norms.

“We seek a region in which the rights of all states large and small are respected with a strategic balance in which no single dominant power dictates outcomes of others,” she stated.

“Australia stands with India and the vast majority of others in the region in opposing destabilizing or escalatory actions,” the Australian Minister said.

“We agree that the rules, norms and habits of cooperation must be at the centre of our strategic culture; not a might is right mentality or coercive tactics,” she pointed out.

She informed that Australia is working with India through regional fora including the Indian Ocean Rim Association, the East Asia Summit, and Trilateral arrangements - Australia, India with Indonesia; Australia, India with France, and Australia, India with Japan.

“We are working on a practical, positive regional agenda through the Quad including most recently and importantly at legal level to help realize our vision of an open, prosperous and resilient Indo-Pacific, where all nations are sovereign,” Payne added.

“The Quad is kind of an innovative diplomacy which we need in the 21st century, when we are rappling with disruptions on a range of fronts from transgressions of international rules and norms to the massive impact of frontier technologies,” she argued.

“This strategic competition arising in the midst of disruptions compels countries like Australia and India who value freedom, openness and sovereignty to participate and shape our region,” the Minister added.

She also announced that Australia will contribute 10 million dollars to the India-led initiative towards disaster-resilient infrastructure and 1 million dollars to the International Solar Alliance.

“We are exploring further collaboration with India, including on low emission technologies, ensuring economic growth as we transition to a clean energy future,” she proposed.

These technologies will be critical in reducing the global greenhouse gases emissions while ensuring economic growth and transition to a clean energy futures, the Minister noted.

The welcome remarks at the programme were given by ORF Chairman Sunjoy Joshi and the session was moderated by ORF’s Director, Studies Prof. Harsh Pant.