New Delhi: Army Chief General MM Naravane Thursday said there will be military cooperation among the member nations of the Quad but it will not be a military alliance like NATO. His comments came two weeks after the top leadership of the Quad grouping of India, the US, Japan and Australia vowed to expand cooperation in the Indo-Pacific at a time China was increasing its military assertiveness in the region.
“It will not be a military alliance. There will definitely be military cooperation, both bilaterally between the countries of the Quad and as a quadrilateral also. But it would not be a military alliance in that sense,” the Army Chief said. He was replying to a question at the India Economic Conclave.
“The Quad is actually supposed to be a quadrilateral security dialogue. We keep calling it Quad but the actual aim of that was a security dialogue and this will of course have security part of it,” he said. “But in this, every country will still be looking at its own interest,” he said adding Quad will not be a NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation).
In their first summit under Quad framework, leaders of India, the US, Japan and Australia deliberated on March 12 on expanding cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and focused on a coronavirus vaccine initiative to effectively deal with the pandemic. The four Quad member countries have been resolving to uphold a rules-based international order in the Indo-Pacific. Gen Naravane also said that the Quad is not focused against any particular country.
“I do not think Quad is aimed at any particular country. That would be a wrong message if at all it has been viewed that way. It is an alliance of like-minded democratic countries who have shared values and who believe in an international order that is based on rules and regulations,” he said. The evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of China’s increasing military muscle flexing has become a major talking point among leading global powers.
The Army Chief also referred to reports of China sending more than 200 fishing vessels into the territorial waters of the Philippines, saying Beijing is trying to bulldoze their way and change the status quo. “They are trying to unilaterally force their way and change the status quo… trying to bulldoze their way and that is not going to be acceptable to any self-respecting country,” he said. “All these countries are now realizing that they need to take a stand and safeguard their interests,” he said.