New Delhi: India has asserted once again that Quad - floated by coming together of India, Australia, Japan and the US - is something like 'Asian NATO' is a misnomer and maintained 'other people' cannot decide what New Delhi chooses to discuss and with whom it decides to discuss to pursue its national's interests. "Using words like Asian Nato etc, this is a sort of mind game which people are playing. That kind of NATO mentality has never been India’s. If it has been there in Asia before, I think it’s in other countries, not in mine,” External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said addressing the Raisina Dialogue on Wednesday, where Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe, Foreign Affairs of France, and Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia also participated. "I can’t have other people sort of have a veto about what I am going to discuss, with whom I am going to discuss,” he stressed at the discussions held on the theme “Crimson tide, blue geometries: New partnerships for the Indo-Pacific”. Besides being a pro-active participant at the four-nation Quad, India has also joined hands with France and Australia forming a trilateral, the Minister said clarifying that these are not aimed at any country. Suggesting that terming Quad as “Asian Nato”, some stakeholders in the region is playing a “mind game”, Dr Jaishankar said, “The idea that somehow because we come together, there is some sort of threat or messaging to others.... people need to get over this". "Indo-Pacific is a clear message that India will not be constrained between the Malacca Strait and Gulf of Aden," he further said adding either Quad or the trilateral format between India, Australia and France, have a wide range of activities and projects on which these countries can "work together". “When we look at a larger canvas, we see Australia there. France is very much a part of this, historically, culturally, physically," he underlined. Thus, he said, the purpose of coming together is actually to find ways of working for "our national benefit, our regional benefit and global benefit". Dr Jaishankar also said, "Indo Pacific is actually the overcoming of the Cold War era.....I would argue, in a way the Indo-Pacific is a return to history. It reflects the more contemporary world". China and Russia have been critical of Quad with the United States as a key player in the entire paradigm. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also has used the term “Asian NATO" in the context of emerging alliances. Earlier this month during his New Delhi, Lavrov has said: "There have been speculations about pushing ahead with projects for creating a Middle Eastern equivalent of NATO. Some have begun to discuss an Asian NATO”. The four-nation Quad was formalised on November 12, 2017 at the Philippines capital, Manila. India, the US, Japan and Australia had joined hands to enhance security cooperation in the Indo Pacific region and thus sought to build up fresh pressure on China, which has been flexing muscles in the region.
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External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Monday said that he had "very productive talks" with Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, where they discussed a wide range of regional and global issues, including the in-principle agreement on mutual recognition of Covid vaccination certification. During the meeting, the two ministers agreed to resume FTA (Free Trade Agreements) negotiations next month. "Very productive talks today with APM and FM @YairLapid ...