Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said that Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is a necessary group to balance China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
Talking about the defence military cooperation between Quad countries comprising of India, Australia, US and Japan, Morrison in an online briefing with the Indian media said, “India and Australia consider it as something that needs to be balanced in relation to China.”
Recently, some of the senior Chinese officials have made statements to the effect that they see Quad grouping as a means of countering the growing Chinese influence in the region.
Talking about the issue, the Australian PM said that the objective of working together is to ensure and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.
During the first in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit held recently, a range of issues were discussed including Afghanistan, cooperation in infrastructure, COVID-19 vaccines, and the Indo-Pacific.
Morrison also welcomed China to participate, he said, “Everybody who wants to participate in that, including China, is a welcome partner in that cause. We don’t really want to see the region in such binary terms. That’s not how the Quad is approaching the challenges that we see in the region. Of course, we want to deter any type of behaviour that threatens peace and security in the region, that threatens the development and prosperity of countries in the region, or in any way seeks to limit their sovereignty or their access to the freedoms that exist under international law.”
He said that the basis of the Quad partnership is a free and open Indo-Pacific. “And I would hope and expect and think that’s what China would be seeking for the Indo-Pacific. See, certainly from Australia’s perspective and I would be so bold to assume that this would be India’s view, too. We are not seeking in any way to constrain China’s growth.”
“But, it’s important that as countries develop and as they grow, that they continue to be a positive and supportive influence in the region for peace and stability, and that the respect is there for all other countries in the Indo-Pacific, for their own sovereignty,” added Australian PM.
He said that all the countries in the region and different, and they do not have the same political systems and outlooks. “There are many countries with many different systems of government,” he said.
“We have a very multilateral view of the Indo-Pacific, not a binary one,” added Morrison.
He also said that he is looking forward to meeting Japan’s new Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, once installed by the Diet, for him taking up his chair within the Quad partnership.
Moreover, Quad is also going deeper into critical and emerging technologies, and particularly rare earth, and the supply chain for rare earth and critical minerals that runs right across to the end, to the end-user.