Australia and the free and open Indo-Pacific: a strategy for the defence of a "rules-based order"

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This chapter will explain why Australia has been an early supporter of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific (FOIP) as a strategy to defend the US-led liberal international order. It shows that this strategy is consistent with and mutually reinforcing of the two dominant strands of Australian foreign policy - the dependent ally and middle power traditions. Australia’s FOIP strategy has involved four main facets: firstly, expanding Australia’s sovereign military capabilities to deter attacks on Australian soil and project power into the Indo-Pacific region; secondly, doubling down on its alliance with the United States to assist the US to continue to project power into the region and prolong its primacy; thirdly, deepening its bilateral relationships with Japan and India as significant regional democracies; and finally, supporting the Quad as the most consequential quasi-institution capable of countering China’s comprehensive challenge to the foundations of the US-led liberal order. It will be argued that Australia views the region as one that is still under active contestation and that Canberra is actively building coalitions among like-minded states and using middle power diplomacy to maintain a balance of power in the region conducive to its interests and liberal values.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Indo-Pacific theatre
Subtitle of host publicationstrategic visions and frameworks
EditorsSrabani Roy Choudhury
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781003342311
ISBN (Print)9781032306131, 9781032378688
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Australian Foreign Policy
  • US-Australia foreign relations
  • Australia-Japan foreign relations
  • Australia-India foreign relations
  • Quadrilateral Security Dialogue


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