US-China tension can give way to India-Australia partnerships on critical technology
+ This competition is quickly spilling over into international forums, including standards-setting bodies, and it’s throwing up new challenges to global technology companies. It’s also leading to new partnerships and presenting opportunities to deepen existing partnerships, as countries find more commonalities in the multitude of technological challenges they face. More opportunities are arising—and arising quickly—for practical cooperation to help deal with these challenges.
With support from industry and civil society, [we] should invest in building a new India–Australia partnership on technology. Positive momentum and a foundation for such a partnership already exist, and further investment in areas of complementary interests could stimulate regional momentum in a range of key critical and emerging technology areas, including in 5G, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and space, and in critical minerals.
+ One such opportunity—and partnership—is the India–Australia relationship, which is rapidly becoming one of the most important pillars of the Indo-Pacific. The relationship has travelled real distance over the past few years—politically, economically and militarily. Today, it’s increasingly clear that neither Canberra nor New Delhi believes—as they may have a few years ago—that China will rise peacefully and that their relationships with Beijing will be primarily based on ‘win–win’ cooperation. In contrast, recent actions taken by Australia and India in response to the Chinese Communist Party’s assertiveness in the wake of Covid-19 have reinforced mutual perceptions of each other’s reliability.
+ Of course, there are challenges in the India–Australia relationship, as there are in all relationships. Rising illiberalism in India, particularly with regard to the treatment of minority communities and developments such as increases in internet shutdowns, sit uncomfortably with Canberra as the government works hard to forge a closer relationship; it also contrasts with the strong international voice India has as a leading and diverse democracy. On the other hand, the memory of Australia abandoning the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue in 2008 due to the Chinese government’s sensitivities explains the bureaucratic inertia and reticence informing New Delhi’s attitudes vis-à-vis Canberra even today.
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