Two very important statements from Kevin Andrews, Australia’s foreign minister, and Kevin Rudd, the country’s former prime minister, have opened up the scenario of a newly developing strategic balance in the Indian Ocean and the Asia Pacific regions.
While Andrews has rued Australia’s previous decision of walking out from Malabar, a multilateral naval military exercise, because of Chinese demarche, Rudd has earnestly called for India’s inclusion in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping.
Both the statements indicate two very important things.
The first is India’s growing importance in the region, of course with active US support. The second is, no doubt, a considerable decrease of Chinese influence in the region. This was not so even a year ago and very few observers could anticipate it. But the defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa, in first the Sri Lankan presidential election and then in the parliamentary election, has suddenly altered the scenario. In the power game of the region, Rajapaksa was undoubtedly China’s most strategically important ally as Sri Lanka is situated just on the threshold of the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean which ensures China’s energy supplies by connecting it with the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
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Source Credits: IANS and Deccan Herald