Days of unilateralism are over: What Jaishankar said on Quad

The Indian foreign minister said we have entered a new phase of international relations and the full impact of China's re-emergence will be felt more than those of major powers. 
Jaishankar narrated how former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi went to China in 1988 to boost the New Delhi's relationship with Beijing predicated on the fact that the border would be peaceful and tranquil. (File photo)
Jaishankar narrated how former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi went to China in 1988 to boost the New Delhi's relationship with Beijing predicated on the fact that the border would be peaceful and tranquil. (File photo)
Published on Sep 06, 2021 05:50 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

Union external affairs minister S Jaishankar on Monday said the Quad grouping is the solution to resistance towards reformation of international organisations.

“Days of unilateralism are over, bilateralism has its own limits and multilateralism is simply not working well enough,” Jaishankar was quoted as saying by news agency ANI as he delivered a keynote address at the JG Crawford Oration in Australian National University.

S Jaishankar was speaking on India's perspective on the Indo-Pacific and India-Australia relations in the face of global security challenges and rising economic and human toll from the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

He stressed that Asia and the Indo-Pacific are vast expanses, with greater diversity and less collective persona.

“The focus of Asian sub-regions on growth and modernisation led them to take a relatively minimalistic view of political accompaniment of their economic journey,” the foreign minister was quoted as saying.

The Quad, or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is a strategic group comprising the United States, Japan, Australia and India. Its first inklings go back to 2007 but a recent resurgence is largely seen as a strategy to counter China's growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

“As we seek to discern outlines of what emerges next, there's no question that Indo-Pacific would be very much at its core. Even though Asia has been more dynamic than Europe in the last few decades, its regional architecture is far more conservative,” Jaishankar added.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to discuss bilateral ties, the security situation in Afghanistan, counter-terrorism and the Indo-Pacific region with US President Joe Biden during his visit to Washington, DC on September 23.

This will be followed by a physical summit of Quad partners on September 24, and Modi's address at the UN General Assembly on September 25.

Speaking further on the security challenges in the Asia-Pacific region, Jaishankar said, “Where the US is understandably struggling as an entrenched power in respect of new manifestations of exerting influence and wielding power. It not only has inherent vulnerabilities but also structural constraints while engaging in contemporary forms of competition.”

The Indian foreign minister said we have entered a new phase of international relations and the full impact of China's re-emergence will be felt more than those of major powers. “Let's be clear, this is not just about the rise of another power, however major,” he said.

Elaborating on Indo-China relations, Jaishankar narrated how former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi went to China in 1988 to boost New Delhi's relationship with Beijing predicated on the fact that the border would be peaceful and tranquil. “We did that by a series of agreements which built confidence, which said don't bring your military to the border,” Jaishankar was quoted as saying.

“After 1975 when we had a relatively small clash, we actually had no fatalities on the border. Yet what we saw last year was a complete departure. There was a very large Chinese military presence in very operational mode at the border without a good reason,” Jaishankar further said

He mentioned the Galwan Valley clash in Eastern Ladakh in June last year, and how it led to the loss of lives on both sides of the Line of Actual Control between India and China. “It has taken the relationship in a completely different direction,” Jaishankar said, adding, “In India, the challenge of how to manage our relationship with China ranks very very high.

While China calls the Quad security dialogue as the new NATO framed against Beijing, the Quad partners view it as a grouping where democratic countries can get together and cooperate to build up resilient supply chains, health architecture, disaster management and security to the shipping lanes handling the trade of the world, particularly in the Indo-Pacific.

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Friday, January 28, 2022