Washington: New Delhi's alignment to the Quadrilateral consultative forum, comprising Australia, India, Japan and the US, was a measured strategic choice to position itself better in an alternative discourse led by China in the Indo-Pacific region, a visiting Indian expert told a Washington audience on Tuesday.
"Alignment to the Quad proposition does not necessarily suggest that India essentially wants to engage in a China-containment strategy in the Indo-Pacific construct," Jagannath Panda of the New Delhi-based Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA) said in a presentation before the Hudson Institute, a top American think tank. "Rather, India's alignment is a strategic arch and the act of firming New Delhi's outreach in a liberal-order framework with the Quad countries. It is a measured strategic choice to position better in an alternative discourse led by China in the Indo-Pacific region," he added.
The principal intent here explained India's desire to protect its maritime interests in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), Panda explained. India's approach to the Quadrilateral consultative forum was a statement of New Delhi's plural foreign policy arch in an evolving Indo-Pacific construct, he said. Balancing China's growing outreach with the consultation of the Quad countries while concurrently firming bilateralism with Beijing explained India's strategic autonomy and pluralism in its foreign policy, Panda said.
At the same time, he noted that for India, the relationship with China was the most imperative component of its plural and non-aligned foreign policy that promoted strategic autonomy. "The India-China relationship is currently taking on a defining structure in the Indo-Pacific construct and New Delhi is more inclined to nurture it than repudiate it. Therefore, India's approach to the Quad would not be based on an anti-China proposition," Panda said.
Updated Date: Sep 26, 2018 08:48 AM