David Brewster

Dr David Brewster


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Dr David Brewster is a Senior Research Fellow with the National Security College, Australian National University where he works on Indian Ocean and Indo Pacific maritime security.   

He also holds appointments as Fellow with the Royal Australian Navy Sea Power Centre and Distinguished Research Fellow with the Australia India Institute, University of Melbourne.  

He is a frequent speaker at international security conferences throughout the region and is as an Australian delegate to several major 1.5 Track security and defence dialogues.

Dr Brewster is a frequent writer about security developments in the Indian Ocean and Indo Pacific for numerous publications.

Dr Brewster’s books include India as an Asia Pacific power, about India’s strategic role in the Asia Pacific and India’s Ocean: the story of India’s bid for regional leadership which examines India’s strategic ambitions in the Indian Ocean.  

His latest edited volume is India and China at Sea: Competition for Naval Dominance in the Indian Ocean, which addresses Indian and Chinese perspectives about their roles in the Indian Ocean and their evolving naval strategies towards each other.  

He contributed a chapter to Strategic Asia 2019 titled The Red Flag Follows Trade: China’s Future as an Indian Ocean Power.  Dr Brewster is also the author of a major new report, Australia’s Second Sea: Facing our Multipolar Future in the Indian Ocean, which proposes a new roadmap for Australia’s strategic engagement in the Indian Ocean.

Research interests

Indian Ocean security

India's security and defence relationships

Indo-Pacific maritime security


PhD, Australian National University, LLM, Columbia University, LLB (First Class Honours), University of Sydney, BEc, University of Sydney

Researcher's projects

Dr Brewster is currently engaged in the following projects:

1.     Indian Ocean security:  This project looks at the future strategic order of the Indian Ocean, with particular focus on the roles of India and China.

3.    Australia in the Indian Ocean.   This project will examine the development of Australia’s strategic role in the Indian Ocean from Imperial to contemporary times.  It will focus on the competing imperatives faced by Australia in supporting its alliance partners, especially in the Middle East, taking an active role in the security of Southeast Asia, as well as addressing its own continental security.   

Expertise Areas

  • Defence Studies
  • Government and Politics of Asia and the Pacific
  • International Relations


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