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QUAD – A New Direction to India’s Multi- Alignment

As per a Readout of U.S.-Australia-India-Japan Ministerial (“The Quad”) press meet held at the New York Foreign Press Center, Senior State Department officials made a special reference to the participation of India and the interests shown in upgrading QUAD by New Delhi.

Senior State Department official singled out India stating, “I think it highlights India’s leadership in the Indo-Pacific region; it’s one of the many ways that the U.S. and India are now cooperating closely on shared strategic objectives as highlighted during President Trump’s meeting with Prime Minister Modi earlier this week; the 2+2 structure that we’ve set up, and the deepening of our defense partnership, and trilateral relations with Japan as seen in the Malabar exercise that’s ongoing”.

India is searching for a new form of multilateralism, which was exemplified by the External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishanker at the recent Ministerial Meeting preceding the XVIIIth Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement on October 23, 2019.

“Multilateralism is undoubtedly under strain today. It is important that our Movement that represents two thirds of the world’s population - continues to work together and take the lead in building multilateral governance structures that are capable of meeting these challenges.

We must reform and revitalise the current arrangements and working methods of our Movement, to allow us to pursue a positive and forward looking agenda. At the same time, we must guard against attempts to divide us and to misuse multilateral platforms to further narrow interests,” said Dr S Jaishanker.

QUAD may be the new direction to multilateralism that India has taken balancing interests and spreading risks through such groupings with widely varied leanings from the Russia India China trilateral to the BRICS and SCO.
Given India’s partnership with Russia and the delicate relationship with China, New Delhi was possibly hesitant to upscale QUAD to the ministerial level.

There is a new found confidence however to build inclusive multilateral partnerships with nations who may be having exclusionary relationships such as Russia, China and the United States.

The next inflection point will be upgrading Exercise Malabar to include Australia.

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