Canberra [Australia]/New Delhi[India], Nov.23 (ANI): Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said that countries in South East Asia and South Asia are beginning to rise and emerge as powers to be contended with, and cautioned the West to be aware of this development and not to take these regions lightly.
In an op-ed piece titled "Challenges ahead as our dynamic region rises", Bishop said, ""By 2020, the combined military budgets of regional countries are likely to match or exceed military spending by the US for the first time in at least a century."
"Even though the US is likely to remain the world's only super power in the decade ahead, we have never been in an era where there has been a powerful China, Japan and India at the same time. Many nations in South East and South Asia are just at the beginning of their rise,"
Bishop further said, "Australia welcomes the emergence of new powers outside our traditional network of security allies and partners. This is precisely what a free and open international rules-based order is designed to achieve, by supporting the emergence of increasingly prosperous and powerful nations willingly participating in that system."
The Australian foreign minister said, "Our collective challenge is to ensure that all nations use their growing power responsibly - that while benefiting from participation in the rules-based order, they respect and strengthen that order at the same time. Australia is well placed to play a constructive and influential role despite being in a region that is becoming more contested and competitive."
She described Australia as one of the oldest continuous democracies in the world that places a high value on its institutions and is mindful of the positive regard in which a successful democracy and a pluralistic society is held.
Bishop said that Australia does not seek to impose its values on other countries, but will remain a vocal champion of and advocate for respecting international law, free societies and open economies,
Admitting that Australia has a longstanding alliance with the United States and will continue with that partnership in the coming decade. Bishop said Canberra's relationships with Japan, South Korea, India and key ASEAN states such as Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia have also never been stronger.
"We will continue to make long-term investments in our regional relationships that will pay dividends for decades to come. In the uncertain times ahead, Australia will approach the next decade with ambition, confidence and purpose,"Bishop concluded. (ANI)