A message from the CEO

Sudarshan
Author Centre for Australia-India Relations
Date 20 May 24

Which foreign or trade policy issue are you most interested in tackling?

Trade, especially maritime trade, between Australia and India is growing and is set to grow further. Being maritime democracies, they are also contributors to the global economy; they depend on free and open oceans and seas as part of the world order they seek to protect and progress; and economic prosperity and security for their peoples will remain an enduring objective of their statecraft.  Our maritime trade and investments could be vulnerable to regional conflict, unlawful claims and contestation. The issues require careful assessment and analytical studies so that cooperation on economic, trade and overall security frameworks could help deter or defend the mutual interests of both countries. History as well as the contemporary environment provide evidence of threats to the free flow of trade and measures to counter and roll back threats require study to feed into strategies for protection of trade flows.         

How is your research going to promote policy translation and public discourse in Australia and/or India? 

Studying matters of security and vulnerabilities to economic well- being do have important benefits that help policy levels to determine contours of long-term frameworks as well as contextual steps required for free flows. Maritime trade does not exist in a vacuum; it requires the maintenance of an overall secure environment in which multi-lateral and bilateral partnerships and alliances are central. Scholars and domain experts could contribute to analysing data, seeing and forecasting trends in trade, and looking at current capabilities and limitations in protecting flows. Such analyses could then feed into policy levels and into executive agencies to then contextually utilise this research. How would trade flows in relative periods of peace translate into keeping flows going in periods of tensions. Additionally, how would such research help our countries transition into what is sometimes called war of supply in times of conflict?       

What are you most excited for during your trip to Australia?

I look forward to working with and at ANCORS, University of Wollongong. ANCORS has provided rich and deep research in diverse areas for policy application advice at very high levels in various governments related to maritime contexts. Having been the Indian Defence Adviser at the Indian High Commission in Canberra from 2005-2008, I did visit ANCORS a few times to discuss India’s maritime outlook with master's students. Indian and Australian security and defence cooperation is of mutual benefit and such a research fellowship gives me a good opportunity to develop my thoughts on deepening this cooperation with a focus on it being able to better deter possible threats and defend mutual economic, trade and security interests. Both nations individually are important and capable players in the Indo-Pacific and a more robust partnership across a wider spectrum of security cooperation can only enhance benefits for ourselves and pan-regional countries as well.