Ahead of the first in-person Quad summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, Sept. 23, held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of Japan Suga Yoshihide. PM Modi also met US Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington DC.
Hailing the strong Indian-American strategic ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called India and the US as ‘natural partners’.
“India and America are natural partners; we have similar values, geopolitical interests, and our coordination and cooperation is also increasing,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
During the bilateral meet, PM Modi discussed a wide range of issues of regional and global importance with his counterparts from Australia and Japan.
However, the Indo-Pacific remained the top focus during the open and close door high-level engagement, due to the growing security situation in the strategically important region.
During their first-in-person interaction, US Vice President Kamala Harris and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
“The United States, like India, feels very strongly about the pride of being a member of the Indo-Pacific, but also the fragility and the importance and strength as well of those relationships, including maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Vice President said.
Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of Japan Suga Yoshihide during a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi also stressed the importance of an open, free, prosperous, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.
Amidst the emerging military situation in the Indo-Pacific region, several countries have jointly echoed their voice for a free and open Indo- Pacific region. In the backdrop of it, the US, UK, and Australia last week jointly announced the new trilateral security partnership for the Indo Pacific- ‘AUKUS’.
Amidst the growing security unease in the ‘Indo-Pacific’, the US, UK, and Australia last week jointly announced the new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific- ‘AUKUS’.
As mentioned, Australia will acquire the nuclear power submarine with the help of the US and UK and thus cancelling a multi-billion USD deal with a French company building diesel-powered submarines.
The announcement came as a major blow, straining the bilateral relationship between France and US-Australia as Paris recalled its Ambassadors from the US and Australia. France also refused to join a tripartite meeting involving Australia. However, Paris later agreed to send its Ambassador back to the United States following the call between Presidents of both countries.
AUKUS meetings are happening in parallel to those of QUAD, which include India, the US, Australia, and Japan. China had once termed the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) as ‘Asian NATO’, which was promptly rejected by India and Australia.
Reacting sharply to the criticism, EAM Dr. S Jaishankar said, “I think people need to get over the idea that somehow, other countries doing things is directed against them. I think countries do things, what is in their interests for their good and for the good of the world and that is exactly what is the case with the Quad.”
PM Scott Morrison briefs PM Modi over AUKUS:
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also briefed Prime Minister Modi about the AUKUS alliance during the meet, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said.
“Prime Minister Morrison did mention the rationale from the Australian side in seeking to initiate the AUKUS alliance. He felt that the technology received was appropriate and there was a brief discussion in that regard.”