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When China kept Manmohan Singh away from Quad

WebdeskAug 02, 2021, 09:33 AM IST

When China kept Manmohan Singh away from Quad

                                                                                                                                                                    Nirendra Dev

 

Both India and the United States have asserted that Quad's formation of these four countries is not against China or any other nation or bloc. 

 

New Delhi: It’s not simple ‘Quad phobia’. China has its reasons for whatever it does; and whatever it pretends it is not doing.

 

China must get over the idea that Quad is against it, said External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar.

 

On this backdrop comes an oft-repeated debate about ‘Quad’ and why it is always apprehensive of four democracies–the US, India, Japan and Australia.

 

Both India and the United States have asserted that Quad's formation of these four countries is not against China or any other nation or bloc.

 

“I think people need to get over the idea that somehow, other countries doing things is directed against them,” External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has said here on July 28 in the presence of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

 

Answering questions, he said for groups of countries, working together is “not strange”.

 

“....this is the history of international relations, you know, group of countries work together were in the same region, I mean, you have regional cooperation, or they sometimes work together, even if they can find intersections of interests, I mean, the BRICS is one such example,” he said pointing out that even China is a member of BRICS.

 

It is often given out that an unstated priority for the Quad is countering China’s growing power!

 

Things were different over a decade back when Dr Manmohan Singh was Prime Minister.

 

“In the past, China has ‘handled’ Japan and India, influenced them in keeping both away from Quad for some time. Dr Manmohan Singh was perhaps against "any initiative aimed at containing China."

 

According to former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, “when the Democratic Party of Japan government (replacing Shinzo Abe) took office in 2009; for it (Japan) any talk of a Quad was political anathema.”

 

Rudd wrote in his essay for ‘Nikkei Asia’, “The same reality emerged in early 2008 in Delhi. Once again, the Australian government checked with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his position on the Quad..... on the eve of Singh's first state visit to China in January 2008, Singh stated that he would not be a party to any initiative aimed at containing China, that the India-China relationship was for him a matter of the first "priority" explicitly noting that the Quad "had never got going."

 

 

“This was not an entirely ringing endorsement for the Quad ....,” Rudd wrote in March 2019.

 

Echoing the sentiment as expressed by Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Blinken also said during his Delhi visit, “the Quad is not a military alliance, it is not that. Its purpose is again, just to advance cooperation, on regional challenges, while reinforcing international rules and values that we believe together.”

 

The Quad countries are focused on dealing effectively with COVID-19 on advancing the climate agenda and dealing with emerging technologies. “We are bringing our experts together on several other vitally important issues to this region and beyond, including infrastructure, supply chains and maritime security.”

 

“We share a vision; India and the United States of a free, open, secure, and prosperous Indo Pacific.

 

We'll work together to make that vision a reality and will continue to advance peace security development worldwide and to work in international organisations to strengthen rules-based international order.”

 

Quad is quite simple but as important as it is simple. Four like-minded countries, India, the United States, Japan, Australia, coming together to work collectively on some of the most important issues of our time that will have a real impact on the lives of our people.  

 

 

“So, I think people need to get over the idea that somehow, other countries doing things is directed against them,” Blinken said.

 

It must be stated that after years lying dormant, the US revived the Quad in 2017 under President Donald Trump, who appeared keen on “challenging China from every angle.”

 

In November 2019, at the Philippines capital, Manila, Trump and Modi and others met on the sidelines of the ASEAN meet.

 

The move certainly gave a 'clearer shape' to a new Security Architecture, especially in the blue-waters and in a region where China has been flexing muscles.

 

Even recently, China said the Quad in effect “hangs on to Cold War mentality” and pursues group confrontation.

 

Russia, too, may not be unhappy with Quad, but Beijing has been belligerent.

 

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