Time for QUAD Expansion: US Deputy State Secretary, Stephen Biegun 

New Delhi: – India had taken a guarded stand regarding the expansion of QUAD cooperation, expecting a vitriolic reaction from China. But Stephen Biegun, US Deputy Secretary of State said that the time has come to expand the QUAD cooperation, by including like-minded countries, with common interests, who are concurring on free and open Indo-Pacific sector. At the same time, Biegun expressed confidence that the India-US ties in the defence sector can scale new heights. At the end of this month, Two-Plus-Two talks between the Defence and Foreign Ministers, of India and the United States, will be held. Against this background, the US Deputy Secretary of State is on a visit to India.  

US Deputy Secretary of State met Indian Foreign Minister, S. Jaishankar, and discussed bilateral cooperation and QUAD, as well as international politics and regional developments. Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar praised the steady growth in the bilateral cooperation between India and the United States. The Foreign Minister expressed confidence that the strategic partnership between India and the United States will increase in the times to come. Thereafter, while talking to a thinktank in New Delhi, Beigun referred to China as an ‘Elephant in the Room’.  

The United States had tried to establish cooperation with India, based on shared security, geopolitical objectives, common interests and values. But this cooperation could not progress, due to the apprehensions regarding China. India had adopted a similar stand even in respect of expansion of the QUAD cooperation, between India, Japan, Australia and the United States. But Beigun clarified that in the coming times, cooperation in exchange of defence-related and confidential information and expansion of QUAD cooperation would be possible.   

QUAD has been formed by four democratic countries, joining hands. The group is based on shared interests and is not against any country. Beigun added that any country supporting free and open Indo-Pacific and having common interests could join QUAD. Beigun also said that the ASEAN countries from South East Asia are being considered for this purpose. Till now QUAD cooperation could not progress due to the apprehensions regarding China. Beigun said that the expansion of QUAD is possible in the future. 

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