India Looks to Get Quad Involved in Afghanistan as US Announces Group's First-Ever Leaders' Summit
China has been scathing in its criticism of the US-led Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, describing it as an effort to contain the rise of Beijing in the global world order. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has referred to the Quad as an “Indo-Pacific NATO”, while saying Washington’s policy in the region poses “a big underlying security risk”.
A discussion on “regional issues” and “humanitarian assistance” will be at the top of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda when he attends the first-ever Quad Leaders' Summit at the White House on 24 September, a statement from Indian foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
The meeting, hosted by US President Joe Biden, is also set to be attended by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga, as per the official release.
Indian foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar has called for global coordination to ensure “unimpeded, unrestricted and direct access” for humanitarian aid providers to Afghanistan, while speaking at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan on 13 September.
The four countries (Australia, India, Japan, the US) that comprise the ‘Quad’, or the ‘Quadrilateral Security Framework’, describe the grouping as that being one of “like-minded democracies” with one of its main aims being to ensure a “free, open and an inclusive Indo-Pacific region” premised on the centrality of Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
A joint statement after the first-ever Quad Virtual Leaders’ Summit
in March this year called for “support of the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity.”
“We reaffirm our strong support for ASEAN’s unity and centrality as well as the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific,” it also said.
members are champions of ASEAN centrality; we actively engage in that ASEAN-led architecture. We're committed to supporting the practical implementation of the ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific, and also say that we have a positive and practical agenda,” Australian foreign minister Marise Payne said during her interaction with journalists in New Delhi after the first-ever 2+2 Summit between India and Australia on 11 September.
In the wake of the pullout of US troops from Afghanistan and the takeover of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul by the Taliban on 15 August, New Delhi has called for the greater involvement of the Quad in the Central Asian nation.
India's Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said at a security conference in New Delhi last month that “intelligence inputs” from Delhi's "Quad" allies in dealing with potential terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan would be “helpful” for the South Asian nation.
"Any support forthcoming from Quad nations in getting some intelligence inputs to fight with the Global War on terror... I think that would be welcome,” Rawat said in a panel discussion which also featured Admiral John C. Aquilino, the commander of the US’ Indo-Pacific Command.
Afghanistan-related matters are handled by the US Central Command (CENTCOM).
Quad Must ‘Engage’ With Afghanistan, Reckons Indian Expert
Indian strategic affairs analyst and Army veteran Colonel (retired) Jaibans Singh tells Sputnik that the Quad should complement Delhi’s efforts to play a leading humanitarian role in Afghanistan.
“India with her geographic location, massive grain reserves, expertise in Covid vaccine manufacturing and pharmaceutical potential is well-poised to lead the humanitarian process,” says Singh, who currently handles the media affairs of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Punjab state.
“The Quad needs to look beyond politics in engaging this crisis,” he reckons.
India has warned that the recent “sea change” in the political and economic situation of Afghanistan could lead to “catastrophic consequences” for the region and the world.
The UN estimates that poverty levels in Afghanistan could rise from their current 72 percent to 97 percent in the coming days, as the war-ravaged nation battles economic sanctions and an imminent diplomatic boycott by the global community in the wake of the Taliban toppling a democratically-elected government.