Dr Sandy Gordon, Visiting Fellow with CEPS at RegNet, attended the first ever 1.5 track dialogue with India in Perth last week. A 1.5 track dialogue consists of a mix of official and non-official representatives. The idea of these dialogues is that academics and experts can discuss sensitive topics freely and that the outcome of these discussions can be conveyed to the respective policy departments. Australia’s Department of Defence sponsored the event and also sent a number of senior policy officials. India was represented by senior diplomats, serving naval personnel and the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi (IDSA). IDSA is an independent think tank funded mainly by the Indian Ministry of Defence.
Discussions were wide ranging and covered the Indian Ocean, changes in regional ‘strategic architecture’ and the security implications of the growing stresses in provision of food and water in the Indian Ocean region.
Both sides hope the promising dialogue can continue next year.