United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has applauded the federal government's strategic white paper on Asian policy and welcomed Australian-Indian naval vessel exercises in the future.

Mrs Clinton is in Perth for the annual Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) meeting and on Tuesday night launched the Perth USAsia Centre at the University of Western Australia (UWA), aimed at strengthening ties between the US, Australia and the Asian region.

She praised Australia's "burgeoning" relationship with India, which she said was the "world's largest democracy and a dynamic emerging economy".

"We would welcome joint Australian-Indian naval vessel exercises in the future and we are eager to work together in the Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation which Australia will chair in 2013 and which the United States has now joined as a dialogue partner," she said.

Mrs Clinton said it was important for Australia and the US to work closely together in the region and said the US had encouraged Delhi to participate more in world affairs.

She also spoke briefly about China, saying she hoped to support China in becoming a "responsible stakeholder in the international community". The $10 million Perth USAsia Centre is a partnership between the US Studies Centre (USSC) at the University of Sydney and University of Western Australia. Mrs Clinton said it was her first visit to Perth and she recalled her friend John Glenn's space orbit of the earth in 1962.

"Every light in this city came on to signal support for his mission and I will tell you that he never forgot the gesture of friendship from this city of light, so for me to come here is a dream come true," she said. Mrs Clinton said it wasn't surprising that foreign investment in Australia was "soaring" including more than $100 billion from the US.

She said Australia was a key focus of America's expanding engagement in the region. WA Premier Colin Barnett also shared his love of space and joked that as a child he "wanted to be American" and insisted on being called Sputnik, prompting a jovial Mrs Clinton to call him "Premier Sputnik".

Senator Chris Evans joked that his teenage son understood American politics better than Australian politics, highlighting the bond between the two nations.

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