The Importance of India: restoring sight to Australia’s strategic blind spot - The Centre for Independent Studies
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The Importance of India: restoring sight to Australia’s strategic blind spot

Australia’s eyes wide shut to India

Australia must recognise the growing confidence, power and influence of India if we are to remain a relevant middle power within our own region, argues a report being released this Thursday.

In The Importance of India: restoring sight to Australia’s strategic blind spot, CIS Foreign Policy Research Fellow John Lee explains that when Canberra looks northwards to Asia it mainly sees China’s presence and ignores the other rising giant of the region: India.

‘The future credentials of India are consistently ignored or given relatively little attention by officials and strategists in Canberra. Beyond token statements acknowledging its rise, India remains our great strategic blind spot’ he says.

Goldman Sachs estimates that the Indian economy will quadruple in size from 2007 to 2020 and India has made great advances in their bilateral relations with the United States and key South-East Asia countries. India is becoming an increasingly important stakeholder in, and contributor to, the existing security order.

Despite these developments, ‘India is poorly appreciated by the Rudd government – this is confirmed by the lack of energy and resources devoted to building a bilateral relationship with New Delhi.’ argues Lee.

Ignoring India as the United States and our other allies and partners in Asia are developing bilateral relations is a serious mistake and it highlights Australia’s failure to recognise the important role that India plays in the region in helping to manage the rise of China.

‘India’s role and its strategic weight in helping to ‘structurally’ constrain and manage a potentially disruptive China is poorly appreciated in Canberra.’

‘Rather than devote our energy towards building new security architecture for the region, which is premature, we need to first bulk up our key relationships with emerging power centres such as New Delhi.’  

Australia can no longer afford to ignore the importance of India; our eyes must become wide open.


Dr John Lee is a Foreign Policy Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies & a Visiting Fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington. He is available for comment.

The report is available at xxxxx.

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