In a new Lowy Institute Analysis launched today, International Security Program Director Rory Medcalf and Nonresident Fellow C Raja Mohan argue that Indo-Pacific middle powers should look to build security coalitions in response to changing power balances in Asia.

China's increasing assertiveness and doubts about America's role in the Indo-Pacific have resulted in enhanced security cooperation between middle powers in the region. 'With Tony Abbott and Narendra Modi due to meet in the coming months, India and Australia are well placed to form the core of middle power coalition building', says C Raja Mohan in the new paper.

 The Analysis argues that cooperation between Indo-Pacific middle power coalitions would help them deal with the uncertainties surrounding the future of US-China relations while helping to build a more multipolar Indo-Pacific order. 'The next logical step should be the creation of "middle power coalitions". These informal arrangements will allow regional players to cooperate on strategic issues in groups that do not include China or the US', says Rory Medcalf in the paper.

Key findings:

  • China's assertiveness and uncertainties about America's response are causing middle powers in Indo-Pacific Asia to looking beyond traditional approaches to security.
  • Cooperation between Indo-Pacific middle power coalitions would build regional resilience against the vagaries of US-China relations.
  • India and Australia are well placed to form the core of middle-power coalition building.

The Analysis is free to download from the Lowy Institute website.

Image courtesy of Royal Australian Navy.