Melbourne: Australia sees India as one of its most important partners to deter China in the Indo-Pacific as Beijing has been very brutal in the way it is behaving, said former Australian MP Ivan Trayling.
In a telephonic conversation with ANI, Trayling said, “India-Australia relationship is important in trying to deter the Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific area and the Chinese brutality.”
Speaking on the ground that newly elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese holds with respect to Chinese aggression in the region, the former Australian politician Trayling said, “I think Prime Minister Albanese will be a very strong partner with the US, India and Japan in working against the Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific. I particularly think and I certainly hope that he will be working very closely with India in terms of combatting the Chinese aggression and Chinese ambitions.”
“I am very intrigued by the current way the Albanese government is moving in terms of recognizing what China is trying to do,” he added.
Upon the huge strides made in the relationship between the two countries, the former Australian lawmaker Trayling said, “After the emergence of China, it has caused more of an awakening about the importance of the Indo-Pacific area. India-Australia relation is mutually very beneficial, especially for Australia .. to have a much better, closer and meaningful relationship with India. I think with time it is happening.”
When asked about how Australia sees the deals that China signed with the Solomon Islands and Samoa along with Beijing’s ambitions on its deal with the Pacific Island nation of Fiji, Trayling noted, “Australia is a medium-sized economy. We have only got 25 million people. We are a wealthily well-off country but we do not compare to the size and economy and the might of China today. It is kind of a huge force but they are brutal in the way they are behaving.”
“They have been brutal in the way they have been behaving with India up in the Himalayas. They are trying to override India in any way they can. China is trying to submit India to be a lesser influence in the Indo-pacific area and that is why they are taking these positions in the Indo-pacific.. with the Solomon Islands and other areas. They are trying to create a situation where they can have places in the Indo-Pacific and China is using money as a primary way in doing so.”
Drawing a comparison, the former Australian lawmaker Trayling said that though US has bases in Australia, the country still needs the support of India. “US is using Australia in a positive way to counter China and they are putting bases here and we are accommodating that. However, we need the cooperation of India which is a big path in the area and worldwide. India eventually could become a match with China.”
Speaking further over the deal that Australia made with China in leasing out the Darwin Port for 99 years, Trayling termed the deal “most ridiculous”. “I think the Darwin issue is a very delicate one. The 99-year lease is the most ridiculous thing that was ever done by Australia. It was done for about 500 million Australian dollars. There is a lot of delicacy about these agreements. If Australia has the legislative ability to go in and stop it and get that lease cancelled they can do it,” Trayling told ANI.
He continued saying, “But there will be a whole world of other consequential actions which will follow the cancellation of the Darwin agreement. I think it will happen but it is a matter of timing .. and what could cause the least penalty for Australia. If we did it right now then the Chinese would take some pretty dramatic action against Australia and that’s what the government is conscious of. But it is a situation that is untenable in the future. There is no way that this deal is going to stay over for long term.. at some stage it can be cancelled.”
Replying to a question on the possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan, Trayling said, “I think the world is very much against China taking over Taiwan. Americans have indicated serious strong support. US president Joe Biden said that they will use military force to defend Taiwan. It would cause a massive anti-China sentiment.”
“Australia supports Taiwan and it would be a crazy move for China to invade the island nation,” he added.
Ivan Trayling also spoke briefly on Pakistan as well. “I think the Australian government is very aware of Pakistan as a breeding ground for terrorism. Australia is also very aware of the provocations that Pakistan provides to India on its border. The duplicity of the Pakistani government over the period is well known and well established.”
“The former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is very anti-India and he was supported by the ISI which is forever trying to work out ways to engage with India and causing problems to India. The terrorism that Pakistan has provided over the years including the Mumbai terror attack.. I do not think anyone trusts Pakistan ..quite frankly ..on anything.”
Australian MP Ivan Trayling also defended India’s reliance on Russia for its defence aid. In a positive tenor, Trayling said, “India has a very strong reliance on Russia for its military.. for aircrafts and submarines.”
Trayling said, “Australia understands the delicate position that India is in because India relies heavily on Russia for its defence hardware. India is also in a delicate position in terms of its reliance on Russia for importing oil. I think Australia understands this delicate position and will give India a lot of time…which India needs..the time to get more balanced in terms of its reliance. If India did not get oil from Russia its economy will suffer.. its people will suffer.”
Trayling said that he sees a huge opportunity in trade between India and Australia. “There is a huge opportunity for India and Australia to get a very advanced position in terms of trade. If they have the will and want to get on with it they have a great opportunity. So many products between India and Australia are there that could be enhanced in terms of establishing a great trade relationship. Both imports and exports. It will benefit the countries immensely.”
With great enthusiasm, Trayling also spoke about the Indian Diaspora in the country. He called the Indians in Australia the “best immigrants” who have come to Australia.
“Indians have been just about the best immigrants who have come here in Australia. They are very productive and very good citizens and they really made a great contribution to Australia. I am happy with the community in Australia and what they have achieved and what they are doing and the support they give to Australia.”
Notably, In 1972 Trayling became the Australian Labor Party member for the Legislative Council seat of Melbourne Province, which he held until 1982.
On September 3, 1975, Trayling had a meeting with India’s former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in New Delhi, during “Emergency” period and discussed Delhi’s political situation. He was also awarded the Queen Elizabeth II, Silver Jubilee Medal, in 1977.