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The security environment for Australia, both regionally and beyond, is fluid and uncertain. The key components of Australia's security strategy are maintaining a strong national defence capability, the security alliance with the United States of America, developing bilateral defence and security relationships with countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region, and strengthening multilateral security links in the region, especially the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Australia is closely engaged in international counter-terrorism efforts - an imperative reinforced by the Bali bombings in October 2002. Australia has concluded several bilateral agreements and arrangements promoting closer cooperation on counter-terrorism within its region.
Regular bilateral security dialogues with key countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and with key partners beyond the region, provide an opportunity to share views on a wide range of regional and global security issues, promote transparency and reinforce Australia’s commitment to working cooperatively with regional countries on security issues. The ARF is an important means of encouraging a sense of strategic community in the region. It complements bilateral links when dealing with global and regional security issues and has a role in encouraging regional support for international regimes against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Australia continues to play an active role in strengthening the international regimes to prevent the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and of missiles. Australia also pursues conventional arms control and disarmament initiatives. An important Australian objective is to ensure that these regimes are implemented effectively in our region. Australia also works bilaterally and through various forums to combat transnational crime.