India, France and Australia on Wednesday underlined their common ground on the Indo-Pacific region days after Russia described the Quad grouping as an “Asian NATO”, reported The Indian Express. The countries, however, differed on their position about the situation in Myanmar, where the military took over after a coup on February 1.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had used the term “Asian NATO” for the emerging alliances at a news conference with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Jaishankar in New Delhi on April 6, reported the Hindustan Times. Russian envoy Nikolay Kudashev had reiterated Moscow’s criticism, saying that the Quad was aimed at reviving Cold War-era structures.
At the Raisina Dialogue conference co-hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation, Jaishankar on Wednesday said countries using terms like “Asian NATO” are playing “mind games”. He said that India will not have others countries “veto” what it discusses and with whom.
“So, that kind of NATO mentality has never been India’s,” the foreign minister added. “If it has been there in Asia before, I think it’s in other countries and regions – not in mine.”
The foreign minister said the Indo-Pacific was a clear message that India will not be limited between the Malacca Strait and the Gulf of Aden, asserting that the country’s interests, influence and activities go way beyond.
“I would argue that, in a way, Indo Pacific is a sort of return to history,” he said. “It reflects the more contemporary world, it is actually overcoming the Cold War, not reinforcing it. So I would very much hope that all of us who would like to run contemporary foreign policies look at it that way.”