ISLAMABAD: The Centre for Strategic Perspectives (CSP), Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized a Public Talk at its Ambassador’s Platform titled “Australia’s Perspective on the Indo-Pacific: Challenges and Opportunities,” on May 26, 2021. H.E. Dr Geoffrey Shaw, Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan was the guest speaker on the occasion. The talk was moderated by Mr Najam Rafique, Director CSP at ISSI.
Welcoming Dr Shaw Ambassador Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, Director General ISSI, said that Pakistan and Australia share important diplomatic relations since the creation of Pakistan and which are based on mutual respect. He said that the formation of Quad has been the new development in the Indo-Pacific region. Pakistan is part of the BRI through the CPEC, which is its flagship project and seeks peace and stability in the broader Indo-Pacific through economic integration.
The High Commissioner said the world was experiencing a strategic realignment, with increasing geostrategic competition between major powers, and pressure on international rules, norms and institutions, and tensions over territorial claims. Countries like Australia and Pakistan were facing an increasingly complex and uncertain strategic landscape.
The High Commissioner set out Australia’s vision for an Indo-Pacific region as a region that is “open, inclusive and resilient, underpinned by rules, norms, and respect for sovereignty…where disputes are resolved through dialogue in accordance with international law”.
The High Commissioner discussed transboundary challenges impacting human security such as climate change. He underlined the need for states to work together, through UN, regional and bilateral mechanisms to tackle them; and the role of innovative forms of cooperation.
Digital technologies offer huge potential, but misuse poses risks. The High Commissioner said Australia wanted to see new domains, such as cyberspace, governed by international law that reinforced stability, supports openness, and facilitates trade and innovation.
The High Commissioner underlined the need for predictable regulatory environments that enable innovation and trade and the fundamental importance of respect for human rights and gender equality – which underpin peace and prosperity.
Finally, the High Commissioner touched on Australia’s participation in the Quad. He explained that the Quad is a diplomatic network of democracies with a positive agenda, working together to address the challenges of the day. The Quad’s practical initiatives include an innovative vaccine partnership that will deliver at least 1 billion vaccine doses by the end of 2022. The Quad complements the existing regional and multilateral architecture, particularly the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, in promoting peace, security and prosperity in the region.
States need to work together to address the myriad of challenges we face, making strong partnerships, like Australia’s partnership with Pakistan, ever more important.