In strategic terms Canberra remains a distant and somewhat junior partner

In strategic terms canberra remains a distant and

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offer beyond natural resources. In strategic terms, Canberra remains a distant and somewhat junior partner despite efforts by the two countries to give sub- stance to the relationship. As a result, unlike the economic relationship, security interactions between India and Australia are developing slowly, and the two countries have had dif- ficulty expanding on the areas for cooperation enumerated in their 2009 joint security declaration. Overall, strategic engagement between them has broad- ened but not deepened. A Growing Interdependence In the coming years, the overall relationship between India and Australia will continue to grow. Although its development is unlikely to be spectacular in the strategic domain for the foreseeable future, both countries increasingly matter for each other. One can no longer conclude, as some Australian analysts did in 2001, that Australia and India have only limited bilateral security interests in common and that these shared concerns are not important to each country’s broader strategic outlook. 75 While difficulties persist between Canberra and New Delhi, the two have shared interests regarding regional stability. They could and should raise their level of maritime cooperation, especially in Southeast Asia, where their inter- ests overlap. 76 The creation in 2012 of an Australia-India-Indonesia troika in the IORA is a step in that direction. 77 Similarly, India and Australia could potentially cooperate on nonproliferation and disarmament. The list of what the two countries could do together on strategic matters is in fact quite long, and it is getting longer as security dialogues multiply. Defense analyst David Brewster, for example, lists eleven domains of potential cooperation, ranging from collaboration in regional institutions to humanitar- ian and disaster relief efforts to Antarctic research. 78 All of the proposed activi- ties would insist on cooperation at all levels, which both countries have agreed to in principle. But the Indian officers and civil servants who are actually in charge of the operational aspects of the relationship are still uncomfortable cooperating with their counterparts from other countries. They need to under- stand in a practical way that cooperation buys influence and support and is a very effective force multiplier. The benefits of this sort of cooperation will eventually cause India’s con- fidence to grow to a point where New Delhi will be able to participate more actively in regional institutions. This could lead, over time, to the upgrad- ing of existing institutions so they address both traditional and nontraditional regional security issues.
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Frederic Grare | 25 Until then, a link between these two levels could be established by target- ing specific issues that include both China and the United States. The task force on Indian Ocean security at the Australia India Institute, for example, recommended the adoption of a “new Indo-Pacific regional security regime concept to involve all relevant stakeholders in dealing with matters of regional
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