US view on Australia’s Indian Ocean role

US and Australian troops participate in joint training drills in Hawaii (Photo: US Navy/Flickr)

By Nilanthi Samaranayake*

Australia plays a critical role in maintaining strategic stability in the Indian Ocean and remains one of the United States’ closest allies on economic, diplomatic, defence, and intelligence matters. Canberra has been a thought leader in formulating the “Indo-Pacific” concept. Yet, even with the shift in US policy focus from the Asia-Pacific to the Indo-Pacific, US regional priorities will remain firmly entrenched in the Western Pacific. As a result, Washington needs Australia to be a leader in strategic thinking on how to approach the management of the Indian Ocean region.

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