AUKUS to have no effect on Quad functioning, Malabar exercise not linked Quad, says India

·3-min read
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla
Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla

New Delhi [India], September 21 (ANI): Ahead of the Quad leaders meeting in Washington, India on Tuesday said the trilateral AUKUS security pact will have no effect on the functioning of Quad and both the groupings have no similarities.

"Let me make it clear Quad and AUKUS are not groupings of similar nature. Quad is plurilateral grouping, group of countries with a shared vision of their attributes and values. We also have a shared vision of the Indo-Pacific region to be open, transparent, inclusive region," Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters.

"The Quad has adopted positive proactive agenda which, as I said, has wide arrays of initiatives at the global level to address some of the issues of the day. This includes dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, including the supply of vaccines to the Indo-Pacific region. It includes working on new and emerging technologies, it includes working on issues like climate change, infrastructure, maritime security, education, humanitarian assistance disaster relief. There is a wide array of initiatives the Quad has undertaken which are designed to cater to the requirements of Indo-Pacific," he added.

He was asked if AUKUS will dilute Quad.

Quad is quadrilateral cooperation between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States. Shringla said Aukus "is a security alliance between three countries".

"We are not a party to this alliance. From our perspective it is neither relevant to the quad nor would have any impact on its functioning, Shringla added.

The first in-person meeting of Quad leaders will take place in Washington DC. It is a diplomatic alliance that has a shared interest in an open, free, inclusive Indo-Pacific region. Many see it as an alliance to counterbalance China's growing clout in the region.

However, Quad member nations also conduct annual Malabar maritime exercises.

Shringla said Malabar exercises have no link to Quad.

"Malabar has no link to Quad and there is no link between AUKUS and Quad. AUKUS is a security alliance, Quad is a different group of countries working on different vision and in the same sentiment. Malabar exercises are those that are done between nations but has nothing to do with Quad," he said.

"Quad is an evolving process. It is something I would say in the initial stages of its functioning and as we go along we have already found common grounds and someone asked is it a grouping which is only on issues that are dealing with non-defence, non-security issues. I think essentially Quad will deal with all issues that would further its objective of seeing our common vision of an Indo-Pacific region," he added.

AUKUS is a trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, announced on September 15, 2021 will allow Australia to have nuclear submarines.

Australia has defended the move by saying it has done the pact for secure Indo-Pacific region.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the Quad meeting on September 24 at the White house. Other than issues related to Indo-Pacific, COVID-19, regional security, cross-border terrorism, the situation in Afghanistan will also be on the Quad table during four-hour-long meeting between the leaders of US, India, Japan and Australia. This is the first in-person Quad meeting. (ANI)

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