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UK, Australia and ASEAN cooperation for safer seas

A case for elevating the cyber–maritime security nexus
ASEAN International security Cyber security Maritime security International relations Southeast Asia Australia United Kingdom Indo-Pacific Region

A safe and secure Indo-Pacific maritime domain is vital to the UK, Australia and Southeast Asian states for their national prosperity. While there are common objectives, the three parties have different priorities, capabilities and areas of expertise.

There’s a long history of multilateral cooperation between Southeast Asia and Australia, among other key partners. In the post-Brexit context and in the light of the UK Government’s Indo-Pacific tilt, London would do well to harmonise its maritime engagements with allies such as Australia and align its activities with priorities of Southeast Asian partners.

While maritime security cooperation at sea tends to be dominated by activities, programs and operations of navies, we recommend taking a comprehensive approach to maritime security cooperation that includes partnerships with non-military actors and considers civilian-related aspects of maritime security.

In finding a value-added role in the crowded space of maritime security cooperation and capacity building, we suggest exploring UK–Australia–ASEAN cooperation on issues of technology, cybersecurity and maritime-based digital infrastructure. Those are transformational aspects that will define the future of maritime activities in the Indo-Pacific and affect Southeast Asia’s safety, security, livelihoods and regional economic competitiveness.

This scoping report recommends UK–Australia–ASEAN cooperation to elevate and further explore the cyber– maritime security nexus.

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