India's Commitment To Quad Has Deepened Ties With US, Japan & Aus: EAM Jaishankar


(MENAFN- IANS) New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Saturday underlined the need to make Quad more contemporary, impactful, and relevant while asserting that India's strong commitment to the grouping and the Indo-Pacific has deepened strategic partnerships with the US, Japan and Australia.

Speaking at the inaugural Quad Think Tank Forum as the 9th Raisina Dialogue drew to a close, the Minister affirmed that the grouping has become a significant and substantive platform for four vibrant democracies seeking to uphold an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

"Our strong commitment to Quad and the Indo-Pacific has been clearly a key factor in the deepening of our strategic partnerships with our three Quad partners," EAM Jaishankar said.

Noting the "prolific" and "rapid" rise of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue in the last five years, he said: "There are three clear messages about the Quad... one, the Quad is here to stay. Two, the Quad is here to grow. And three, the Quad is here to contribute. So, I would urge you all, please help us to make it more contemporary, make it more relevant, make it more impactful," EAM Jaishankar said.

Highlighting that the group is propelled by a change in the global order that requires more collaboration among the like-minded, the Minister was lavish in his praise for the other three partners.

"With the US, we put behind ideological hesitations of history. With Japan, we gave a longstanding goodwill much more practical shape. And with Australia, we actually made a real beginning in seriousness," Jaishankar said at the session where Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot was also present.

The Minister acknowledged that there is a growing comfort in working with each other given the strong consensus the four partners have in their strategic outlooks and that the bilateral partnerships with each of the three Quad countries have transformed in recent years.

"So, it is very interesting dynamic which is, improving bilateral relations contribute to Quad and deepening Quad in turn, actually strengthens the bilateral relationship. And you can see this in the elevation of our defence and security cooperation, in growing commercial and economic linkages, in technology collaborations, and people-to-people ties," he said.

Enumerating the achievements and activities of the Quad, EAM Jaishankar informed that the countries in the grouping have announced more than 1,800 'Infrastructure Fellowships' for policymakers and technical experts to familiarise them with infrastructure projects and their implementation.

The countries, by pooling together their technical expertise, are enhancing the ability of the Indo-Pacific countries to select smart and reliable options, the session was informed.

Under the STEM Fellowship programme, a Quad initiative, about 100 scholars from the four countries have enrolled in courses in US universities.

Going further, the second cycle of Quad STEM Fellowships has been extended to ASEAN member countries as well, the EAM said. Listing some of the larger collaborations under Quad, the EAM spoke of the Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness Initiative, under which data is being supplied for countering illicit maritime activities and responding to climate-related and humanitarian events.

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which seeks to offer alternative economic engagement mechanisms and addresses issues like supply chains, clean economies, sustainability, and digital economies, was also mentioned.

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