India rises for Australia

God help me, I agree with Innes Willox for once:

A leader of a powerful business group has called for a better alignment of the nat­ion’s economic and strategic interests, urging Australian companies to resist bullying from China and for diplomats to get “their hands dirty’’ by helping to find alternative export markets.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox’s call to drive export diversification and maintain Australian values received support from senior members of the security community.

Writing in The Australian on Monday, Mr Willox said diplomats and business must unite to overcome trade obstacles.

“Better alignment of our economic and strategic interests has never been so crucial. Let’s pull every lever to overcome the obstacles that China has chosen to put in our way,” Mr Willox writes.

It will be interesting to see whether Willox backs actual measures that prevent this bullying, such as curtailing Chinese immigration, given his history and role as a mass immigration lobbyist. My base case is that that will happen anyway from the Chinese side as tourism and student numbers don’t rebound much.

The diversification argument is not specific to any one country but there is going to be a major push towards India.  Via Laura Tingle at the ABC:

…for Australia, the question of where the new administration picks up on foreign policy, particularly the Indo-Pacific, will be crucial.

That’s what made this week’s extremely unusual declassification of the Indo-Pacific strategy of the Trump administration, formalised in early 2018, so interesting.

The document was previously classified “secret” and “not for foreign nationals”. It was officially declassified last week — 30 years earlier than would normally be the case.

…Those who have been involved in running US policy want to make sure the strategic architecture is explicit and on the public record, no matter how the more colourful actions of President Trump may have dominated the headlines, and that it becomes a jumping off point for the Biden administration.

A source intimately involved in the policy told me the release was a gesture of reassurance to the US alliance partners, including Australia, that “we are not fading away but doubling down” in the Indo-Pacific.

…Washington sources familiar with the development of the strategy said Australia had a significant influence on the document, as did Japan. They speak of how alliances in the region have developed over the last four years from a “hub and spoke” network built around the US, to a latticework of inter-relationships centred on the so-called “quad” of the US, Japan, India and Australia.

…And now we see revealed in plain terms the US strategy that was being developed around the same time that commits to “devise and implement a defense strategy capable of, but not limited to: (1) denying China sustained air and sea dominance inside the ‘first island chain’ in a conflict; (2) defending the first island chain nations, including Taiwan; and (3) dominating all domains outside the first island chain”.

The so-called first island chain refers to islands stretching from the Kurils, the Japanese main islands and the Ryukyus to Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia.

…Just to further emphasise the growing tensions, the US objective on India, according to the US strategy document, is to “accelerate India’s rise and capacity to serve as a net provider of security” by building “a stronger foundation for defense cooperation and interoperability; expand our defense trade and ability to transfer defense technology”, and to “offer support to India through diplomatic, military and intelligence channels — to help address continental challenges such as the border dispute with China”.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue of Australia, India, Japan and the US is set to become a shaping entity economically as well as geopolitically.

The pattern of trade growth with India is strong and pretty similar to China with the successes most likely to be in commodities (though not iron ore) and education plus tourism:

India will not be another China in the near future but it can make a material contribution to trade diversification.

David Llewellyn-Smith


  1. I’ve been arguing this for about 5 years now. I know the Indians are keen..

    They need energy, specifically LNG.

  2. The90kwbeastMEMBER

    Question for someone smarter than me. Why hasn’t Australia sought better relationships with Indonesia and the Philippines? Shouldn’t those two countries be on the cards also with large populations and at least a semi functioning democracy?

      • The90kwbeastMEMBER

        Yeh but trade is woeful given the size and relationship, it should be several times larger I would have thought

    • NoodlesRomanovMEMBER

      Indo has local coal (not as good a grade as ours, but logistics trumps quality if the mine is next door to the powerstation).
      Their steelmaking capacity is 1% of China’s, so that’s IO out.

      Not sure what the go is with primary products, but I’m sure the whole live cattle export issue caused some problems.

  3. Ronin8317MEMBER

    I hope everyone realize the ‘price’ for getting closer with India is Australian Federal government funding of the Adani coal mine.

    • NoodlesRomanovMEMBER

      US$800M bump to the export numbers if they do. Does some damage to a few other KPI’s though.

  4. Yawn yawn there is no Chinda, there never was a Chinda and in all likelihood there never will be a Chinda.
    India is in absolutely no position to pickup the global slack if China comes off the boil. It’s silly to even make this suggestion given the almost order of magnitude differences in their trade positions with Australia.
    yawn yawn next story

  5. The only thing rising is something in Willox’s pants at the prospect of moar migration from the subcontinent.

    • Correct. India will expect to offload more of their people to us in exchange for trade opportunities.

    • That’s it.
      Of course we should be selling as much product to India or any other Third World country … as much as they want.
      However, Third World countries must never be allowed more permanent and temporary visas into Australia as a trade for buying these products.
      If Third World countries need a product that we can supply, then they can buy it, but it must never, ever be linked with favourable migration demands from them.

  6. Salvatore babones wrote a piece on how tbe international studeng numbers would die and india wont pick up the slack.. the reality is i have met a lot of very intelligent and dilligent international students who come from india in economics, IT and literature.. they dont come here, they go to harvard and stanford.. what we get are the ones who want PR.. and that gravy train is gone, even the annointed one peter mcdonald has said it doesnt work in the australian on december 22.. diversification means getting into lots of small markets.. souther africa, pacific islands and our ideological bases in europe.

      • Shades of MessinaMEMBER

        You meet them all over the world but primarily in places like Silicon Valley, Europe and Singapore where they are building global companies.

        Anyone with that level of talent and ability doesn’t choose Australia. Hell, not even talented Australians choose Australia !!.

  7. FFS the best go to the US. All we’re going to do is import an underclass of horny young incels. Can’t see any problem there at all.