New Delhi: – While Biden is taking over as the President of the United States, all the countries have started realigning their strategies, in anticipation of deviation from the policies during the Trump administration. Concerns are being expressed that instead of strengthening the QUAD cooperation between India, the United States, Japan and Australia, Biden will ignore it. In that scenario, China will, once again, get a chance to dominate the Indo-Pacific sector. To avoid this, India and Japan have started moves to strengthen cooperation with France. This reflected in a function organised by one of the think tanks.
Observer Research Forum (ORF) had organised a discussion forum titled India-France-Japan Workshop on Indo-Pacific. Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain and Japanese Ambassador Satoshi Suzuki participated in the discussion. Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla presented the Indian stand, ‘India believes that the Indo-Pacific sector should remain within the framework of international laws. There should be freedom of movement in the region, and the sovereignty of the countries in the region should be respected. This will ensure the end-to-end security of the international supply chain. This chain should not be dependent on a single country. All the upcoming countries should be able to benefit from this.’
He cited the Marine Doctrine presented by the Indian Prime Minister during his speech at Singapore in 2018. Shringla said that accordingly, the Indian discussions and negotiations with Japan and France, who are an essential part of the Indo-Pacific region, becomes a natural phenomenon. India has developed maritime security cooperation with France. The Foreign Secretary clarified that similarly, Indian relations with Japan become vital for the Indo-Pacific sector.
Shringla made a significant statement that India is a very important factor in the Indo-Pacific sector’s security. The Indian Foreign Secretary said that India is active in resolving the daunting piracy problem in the Gulf of Aden. Shringla clarified that India is cooperating with other countries for the security of the Indo-Pacific.
Japanese Ambassador Satoshi clarified that the free and open Indo-Pacific sector has a special place in the Japanese foreign policy during the discussions. India is a valuable partner for Japan, who cannot be replaced. Ambassador Satoshi said that India-Japan cooperation has a special significance.
Ambassador Satoshi informed that the new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has adopted policies prioritising the Indo-Pacific sector’s security and stability. The challenges in the Indo-Pacific go beyond the geographical borders. The Japanese Ambassador warned that international cooperation is vital to overcome these challenges. The Japanese Ambassador pointed out that the tripartite collaboration between India-Japan-France becomes extremely important on this front.
French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain said, ‘An imbalance has been created in the Indo-Pacific sector due to unilateral policies of some countries. Therefore, a lot of uncertainty prevails in the region. In these times, France has initiated cooperation with its allies India and Japan to achieve stability and development. Other countries are welcome to join the front.’ During the discussions, all the three countries cited the threats created due to China, in the Indo-pacific, without a direct mention. The Indian Foreign Secretary and the Japanese and French Ambassadors expressed the need for cooperation against this. A few military analysts have expressed concerns that Biden, who is taking over as the President of the United States, may ignore QUAD. During his tenure as the US President, Obama had chosen to ignore all the Chinese activities in the Indo-Pacific sector. The analysts believe that Biden, who was the Vice President during that time, will also continue with the same policies.