Quad’s existence isn’t just to counter Chinese aggression: Pentagon

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China’s aggressiveness and coercive nature in the strategic Indo-Pacific region is a “frequent topic of discussion” among the Quad nations but not all of it has to do with Beijing as there are lots of outcomes, the Pentagon has said.

On September 24, US President Joe Biden hosted the first-ever in-person summit of Quad leaders that vowed to strive for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, inclusive, anchored by democratic values and unconstrained by coercion, sending an apparent message to China.

At President Biden’ invitation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterparts Scott Morrison from Australia and Yoshihide Suga from Japan attended the Quad summit during which they announced a slew of new initiatives to take on common challenges, amidst muscle flexing by an assertive China in the strategic region.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby, at a news conference here on Thursday, told reporters: “there are lots of outcomes to the Quad relationship.

“And they don’t all have to do with China… It’s not that the Quad exists simply to counter China or their influence”.

“Obviously, what China’s doing in the Indo-Pacific region, the aggressiveness, the coercive nature with which they try to press their claims, certainly is a frequent topic of discussion with all our allies and partners, and certainly inside the Quad.

“What the Quad arrangement gives us is another terrific opportunity to work multilaterally on all kinds of initiatives that can help create what we really want here, which is a free and open Indo Pacific region. And there’s a lot that goes into that, and not all of it has to do with China,” Kirby said.

In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the resource-rich Indo-Pacific free of any influence, amidst China’s growing military presence in the strategic region.

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