Australia-India strategic relations: from estrangement to engagement

Darvesh Gopal*, Dalbir Ahlawat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


India and Australia held a set of largely divergent strategic perspectives during the Cold War period, which prevented any significant strategic relationship from developing at that time. Since the end of the Cold War, however, strategic relations between the two countries, although still volatile, have steadily improved. This article argues that as the Indo-Pacific region is increasingly seen as an arena of strategic importance in both New Delhi and Canberra, there is increased scope for a further convergence of Indo-Australian strategic relations based on a series of shared core security concerns. However, in the context of a rising China and re-assertive US in the region, there is a danger that bilateral relations between each of the two countries and the US may serve to prevent a strengthening of independent Indo-Australian relations. First, the post-World War II security policies of both India and Australia are outlined, as are the places occupied by each country in the strategic perspectives of the other. Then, the post-Cold War convergence of security perspectives of both nations is examined in the context of the emerging importance of the Indo-Pacific region in terms of both non-state security challenges and traditional balance-of-power concerns. Finally, the pressures exacted on potential Indo-Australian strategic relations by a rising China and re-assertive US are considered. It is argued that although convergence has begun, India and Australia still have a long way to go before they can initiate a robust and independent bilateral security partnership.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-220
Number of pages15
JournalIndia Quarterly: a journal of international affairs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015


  • Australia
  • China
  • United States
  • India
  • security
  • strategy


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