The Indo-Pacific region has become the epicentre of strategic competition and like-minded nations need to act more consistently and cohesively to protect their shared interests in the face of multiple challenges, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today.
In an address at the Raisina Dialogue, he said the coronavirus pandemic has provided a fresh perspective in creating new opportunities to build a durable strategic balance in the Indo-pacific region.
Without mentioning any country, the Australian prime minister also referred to the growing tensions over territorial claims and the unprecedented pace of military modernisation in the region.
"Democratic sovereign nations are being threatened and coerced by foreign interference. Cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated, including from state-sponsored actors," he said at the virtual conference.
"Economic coercion is being employed as a tool of statecraft. Liberal rules and norms are under assault and there is a great polarisation that our world is at risk of moving towards," Mr Morrison said.
He said a polarisation is taking place between authoritarian regimes and liberal democracies, adding that a liberal democracy and a liberal set of values underpin the global order that has delivered so much to the world.
He said like-minded nations need to act more consistently and cohesively in protecting their shared interests.
"The Indo-Pacific is the region that will shape our prosperity, our security and our destiny, individually and collectively," Mr Morrison said.
"The Indo-Pacific is the epicentre of strategic competition," he added.
The evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of China's increasing military muscle-flexing has become a major talking point among leading global powers.
India, the US, Australia and Japan have vowed to work collectively under the framework Quad or Quadrilateral coalition towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.