NEW DELHI: The coming together of United States, Australia, Japan and India is not an alliance, but an engagement for the sake of freedom of navigation, said army chief General Bipin Rawat here on Tuesday.
“We were the original founders of the Non-Aligned Movement. Instead of going for alliances, we have had engagement with various countries,” said General Rawat, while addressing students of Government Law Institute-Mumbai, at the South Block of the Central Secretariat.
“We are getting into an engagement with them, to ensure there is freedom of navigation in the oceans, the Indian Ocean, where 70 percent of the world trade passes through," General Rawat told visiting students who queried the army chief on the strategic partnership with the Pacific powers.
The engagement came after an informal dialogue -- Quadrilateral Security Dialogue -- was initiated in 2007 by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, Australia Prime Minister John Howard and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
There was a temporary fall out following Australia’s withdrawal during Kevin Rudd’s tenure as Prime Minister but was re-established when the four countries met on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in November 2017 in Manila, Malaysia. The meeting was seen as a move to counter China.