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India, France, Australia: Pacific Collaboration



  Sep 02, 2023

Trilateral Cooperation between India, France, and Australia in the Pacific Islands


Introduction:

The trilateral partnership forum between India, France, and Australia was established in 2021 to foster maritime development and connectivity in the Indo-Pacific region. This partnership focuses on strategic, security, economic, and environmental cooperation to address challenges in the region.
 

Areas of Cooperation:

The trilateral partnership aims to collaborate on disaster-resilient infrastructure, climate action, and combatting illegal fishing. Strengthening multilateral organizations like the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is also part of their cooperative efforts.
 

Motivation for Trilateral Cooperation:

The growing influence of China in the Pacific Islands has spurred India, France, and Australia to strengthen their engagement with these nations. By doing so, they intend to counterbalance China's increasing geopolitical competition, particularly with the United States, in the Indo-Pacific region.
 

India's Diplomatic Outreach:

India has been actively pursuing diplomatic engagement in the Pacific Islands. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Papua New Guinea islands during the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) showcased India's commitment. An action plan focusing on healthcare, clean energy, and cyberspace was unveiled during the forum.
 

Specific Recommendations for Cooperation:

Experts from the Australian National University's National Security College have proposed various measures for trilateral cooperation. These include establishing a disaster response system, protecting undersea internet cables, forming an independent scientific organization for Indian Ocean challenges, and creating a joint surveillance mechanism against illegal fishing.
 

Views on China's Presence:

Both France and Australia view China's expanding influence in the Pacific Islands with apprehension. They emphasize the importance of addressing China's interests in the region and collaborating with like-minded nations to uphold stability and security.
 

India's Strategic Ambitions:

India aims to assert itself as a voice for the global south and advocate for the interests of the Pacific Islands. Through trilateral cooperation with France and Australia, India seeks to bolster its strategic footprint in the Indo-Pacific, fostering regional stability and collaboration.
 

Selected Pacific Islands:

Fiji
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands
Vanuatu
Samoa
Tonga
Kiribati
Tuvalu
Marshall Islands
 
The trilateral partnership underscores the commitment of India, France, and Australia to bolster regional cooperation and navigate the complex dynamics of the Indo-Pacific region.


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