10 Sep 2008

Case for new Asia-Pacific group pushed in India

1:38 pm on 10 September 2008

Australia has again raised the prospect of an Asia-Pacific Community.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told a gathering of business leaders in India that such an organisation is needed to combat the many security challenges facing the region.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd first raised the concept of an Asia-Pacific organisation in June, saying a new forum would foster cooperation within the region rather than conflict.

The federal government believes APEC, ASEAN and the East Asia Summit have a positive role to play, but is concerned that none was suitable to handle a broader regional vision.

The proposed Asia-Pacific Community would span the entire Asia Pacific, including the United States, Japan, China, India and Indonesia.

At the Confederation of Indian Industries in Chennai on Tuesday night,

Mr Smith said strong regional institutions were needed in Asia because of the many security challenges facing the region.

Mr Smith said India, as an emerging power in the region, has an essential role to play in meeting such security challenges.

He said Australia would continue to support a permanent seat for India on the United Nations Security Council.