This report argues that, despite the best intentions of their respective Prime Ministers, any enhancement of the Indo-Australian relationship depends for the most part on India’s domestic agenda and remains speculative.
Non-alignment in its present form in India is both flexible and cautious, allowing New Delhi the freedom to pursue international relationships and partnerships that fall short of alliances. Its foreign policy has been described as a struggle to reconcile idealism and realism, and Modi has rapidly used this flexibility in a round of regional visits to establish bonds that transcend economic co-operation. Modi’s visit to Australia has established such a bond and reassured Canberra that it is no longer peripheral to India’s interests.
In examining Modi’s possible strategies, this paper canvassed opportunities for Australia to examine the benefits of closer ties for the Modi Government.
- Despite the best intentions of their respective Prime Ministers, any enhancement of the Indo-Australian relationship depends for the most part on India’s domestic agenda and thus remains speculative.
- Modi’s perceived tilt towards the United States and its key democratic allies, including Australia, may lead to closer engagement with India’s East Asia partners.
- India’s Asia-Pacific associations could be read by China as hostile to its interests. Australia, in pursuit of its own regional agenda, may collaborate with India in some instances.
- There are prospects for a bilateral relationship that is recognised in both countries as strategically useful, economically productive and aligned with India’s new agenda.