The new security alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States has no connection with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and will have no impact on the functioning of the group, the business minister said on Tuesday. Foreign Harsh Shringla before the first Quad Summit in person.
Shringla’s remarks, the first official response to AUKUS from the Indian side, came amid widespread speculation over whether the new security alliance would dilute the Quad’s agenda or affect the functioning of the group that brings together the India, Australia, Japan and the United States. .
“Let me clarify that the Quad and the UKUS are not groupings of a similar nature,” Shringla said at a press briefing ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States, during which he will attend the first Quad Summit in person. September 24.
The Quad is a “plurilateral grouping of countries with a shared vision of their attributes and values” and the four members have a common vision of the Indo-Pacific as a free, open, transparent and inclusive region, has t -he declares.
“On the other hand, AUKUS is a security alliance between three countries. We are not part of this alliance. From our point of view, this is neither relevant for the Quad nor will it have any impact on its operation, ”he added.
The new alliance was unveiled last week by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden in the context of China’s assertive actions across the Indo-Pacific, and its first initiative aims to equip Australia with submarine nuclear power plants built with US and UK technology.
France, a close strategic ally of India, has reacted angrily to the new alliance as it led Australia to cancel a nearly $ 90 billion deal to build 12 conventional French-designed submarines.
Responding to a question about whether there are nuclear proliferation concerns over AUKUS, Shringla said Australia had previously clarified that it would work on nuclear-powered submarines but that “it would not have to ‘nuclear weapons and, as such, will not contravene any of Australia’s or international commitments regarding the issue of nuclear proliferation ”.
He said there was also no connection between the Malabar naval exercise and the Quad, just as “there is no connection between the AKUS and the Quad”.
Exercise Malabar is being conducted by the Indian, US and Japanese navies, and Australia has joined the exercises for the second year in a row in 2021.
Shringla said the Quad has come a long way as a group, from holding initial meetings of senior officials to hosting a meeting of foreign ministers in 2019 and moving to a virtual summit in March. This year. “As we move forward, I think we’ve already found a lot of common ground,” he said.
The Quad has also adopted a “positive and proactive agenda” with a range of initiatives at the global level to address contemporary issues such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the supply of vaccines to Indo-Pacific countries, new technologies and emerging, climate change, infrastructure, maritime security, education, humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
“The Quad will address all issues that would contribute to its goals of seeing our shared vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. From that point of view, the Quad will work and do what it takes. The effort is to move forward in areas that would seek to co-opt and allow the Quad to cooperate with our Indo-Pacific partners, ”Shringla said.