Regional Perspectives: Defence and Security in the Indian Ocean
On Wednesday 24 August, the Perth USAsia Centre hosted a private roundtable discussion on defence and security in the Indian Ocean, featuring key perspectives from regional thought leaders, including Dr Michael J. Green, Mr Philip Green OAM, Vice Admiral (ret.) Shekhar Sinha, and Dr Huong Le Thu.
The event preceded the Western Australian Indo-Pacific Defence and Security Conference at OPTUS Stadium from 25 – 26 August.
Discussion centered on global security challenges, ranging from Ukraine to the South China Sea, and ways to safeguard security in the Indo-Pacific.
Speakers emphasised that military strength should not be the sole mechanism of demonstrating power within the Indo-Pacific – soft power was critical, with scope to expand efforts with our near neighbours like Indonesia and India.
Mini-lateral groupings such as AUKUS and the Quad had a significant role to play in shoring up security, although they needed more buy-in from the region. ASEAN countries weren’t sure how the Quad or AUKUS could assist the Indo-Pacific if these partnerships were not fully representative of the region.
One way to address concerns regarding the Quad and AUKUS would be for partners like Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Indonesia, and India, to collaborate on investment, manufacturing, infrastructure, and development assistance.
Participants agreed that the Indo-Pacific was central to Australia’s security and prosperity, and in this regard, balance of power within the region was crucial.