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AUKUS alliance neither relevant to Quad nor will impact on its functioning: India

Shringla said while the AUKUS (Australia, the UK and the US) is a security alliance among the three countries, the Quad is a plurilateral grouping with a vision for a free, open, transparent and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

September 21, 2021 / 08:49 PM IST
The new security agreement among the US, UK and Australia is neither relevant to the Quad nor will have any impact on its functioning, and they are not groupings of a similar nature, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said (Image: Twitter/@ihcdhaka)

The new security agreement among the US, UK and Australia is neither relevant to the Quad nor will have any impact on its functioning, and they are not groupings of a similar nature, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said (Image: Twitter/@ihcdhaka)

The new security agreement among the US, UK and Australia is neither relevant to the Quad nor will have any impact on its functioning, and they are not groupings of a similar nature, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Tuesday, in the first reaction from India on the contentious alliance.

Shringla said while the AUKUS (Australia, the UK and the US) is a security alliance among the three countries, the Quad is a plurilateral grouping with a vision for a free, open, transparent and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

"AUKUS is a security alliance between three countries. We are not party to this alliance. From our perspective, this is neither relevant to the Quad nor will it have any impact on its functioning," Shringla said at a media briefing.

Under the deal, Australia will get technology from the US and UK to build nuclear-powered submarines.

The alliance is seen as an effort to counter China''s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea.

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France reacted angrily to the formation of the new alliance as it resulted in Paris effectively losing a multi-billion dollar deal to build 12 conventional submarines for Australia. France is also upset over its exclusion from the alliance.

China has also slammed the formation of the AUKUS.

"Let me make it clear that the Quad and AUKUS are not groupings of a similar nature. I will try and qualify that. The Quad is a plurilateral grouping," Shringla said.

The Quad comprises India, the US, Japan and Australia.

The foreign secretary said the member states of Quad have a shared vision for the Indo-Pacific and they are working towards it.

"The Quad has adopted a positive, proactive agenda with a wide array of initiatives at the global level to address some of the issues of the day," he said.

"This includes dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic including 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 and education, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief," Shringla added.

He said initiatives under Quad are designed to cater to the requirements of the Indo-Pacific region.

"On the other hand, AUKUS is a security alliance between three countries," he said.

The AUKUS partnership was unveiled by US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British PM Boris Johnson on Thursday.

France on Friday recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia for consultations following the unveiling of the pact.

Asked about apprehensions about nuclear proliferation as the deal provides for support to Australia to develop a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, Shringla referred to Canberra''s position on the matter.

"I saw that the Australians have clarified that they are working on a nuclear-propelled submarine. That means propulsion is based on nuclear technology but it would not have any nuclear weapons and as such will not be in contravention with any of Australia''s international commitments with regard to the issue of nuclear proliferation," he said.

Asked about India''s defence cooperation with the US, he said, "We have come a long way", adding India has access to some of the important defence equipment from its perspective.

"I think we have every reason to be satisfied with the level of our defence engagement with the US. It is a partnership, it is based on a mutuality of requirements and at the same time it is graduating to the level where we can co-produced and innovate together," he said.
PTI
first published: Sep 21, 2021 08:49 pm

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