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Australia announces regional connectivity initiative in S Asia with India as pivot
Jan 10, 2019

Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, on Wednesday sought to develop a deep strategic partnership with India, supporting its role as a strategic anchor in the region. 
Delivering the Ministerial Address at the fourth edition of Raisina Dialogue here on Wednesday, Payne said that as competition intensifies, Australia and India have shared interests in ensuring the peaceful development of an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. 
The Minister announced that Australia would support building regional economic connectivity in South Asia through Canberra's new South Asia Regional Infrastructure Connectivity initiative, known as SARIC. 
A $25-million programme over four years, which will begin this year, will focus on improving the quality of infrastructure and investment particularly in transport and energy sectors. 
A particular aim of the SARIC initiative will be to deploy Australia’s expertise in these sectors and to leverage our comparative advantage in infrastructure policy and financing – such as in infrastructure financing and public private partnerships, well-known to our processes in Australia. 
She said Australia believes that all nations have a responsibility to work together to keep the Indo-Pacific open, prosperous and stable and also to promote and protect the international rules that support stability and prosperity and enable cooperation to tackle global challenges — expected and unexpected 
Payne said Australia also wants to help build stronger regional institutions and norms that manage regional peace and security and that promote openness, support resilience among regional countries to withstand coercion and shape opportunities in their national interest and work with partners to protect and shape rules that promote economic growth, trade liberalisation and open markets. 
She pointed out that the determination to build a positive future is not just an Australian view but also strongly shared by India. 
The Minister noted that this is a challenging period, as Indo-Pacific countries face an uncertain strategic period, with great power transitions and increasing strategic rivalry.