NEW DELHI: The Indo-Pacific construct was not about reinforcing the Cold War but about overcoming it, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.
“The idea that when we come together and there is some sort of a threat or messaging to others, I think people need to get over this. Using words like ‘Asian NATO’, etc is a mindgame which people are playing,” Jaishankar said, stressing that the Quad o r Quadilateral Security Dialogue was not ‘Asian NATO and that India never had NATO mentality.
“I can’t have other people have a veto about what am going to discuss, with whom I’m going to discuss, how much I’m going to contribute to the world. That’s my national choice. That kind of NATO mentality has never been India’s. If it has been there in Asia before I think it’s in other countries and regions, not in mine.”
The minister was speaking at the Raisina Dialogue 2021 in a panel discussion ‘Crimson Tide, Blur Geometrics: New Partnerships for Indo-Pacific’ with his French counterpart Jean-Yves La Drian and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Paine.
Elaborating his point that Quad was not an Asian NATO, Jaishankar spelt out 10 subjects including vaccine collaboration and climate action that the grouping had discussed so far.
On the Indo-Pacific, he said that the region is a return to history.
“It reflects a more contemporary world. It is actually overcoming the Cold War, not reinforcing it,” he added.
Le Drian said the security in the Indo-Pacific region is very important while Payne said that Australia has a practical approach to the region.
Perception of being ‘anti-China’ front
Quad is a grouping comprising India, Australia, the US and Japan and is often perceived to be formed to keep China’s assertiveness and aggression in check in the South China Sea.