ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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In the Making - An Asian NATO?

The devious game New Delhi is playing alongside Washington, Tokyo and Canberra.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official visit to Australia during 16-18 November, immediately following the G-20 Summit, needs to be particularly noted for the conclusion of a new Framework for Security Cooperation, under which New Delhi and Canberra will “hold regular meetings at the level of the Defence Minister, conduct regular maritime exercises and convene regular Navy to Navy, Air Force to Air Force and Army to Army staff talks”. In September, during a visit of the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to India, a Civil Nuclear Agreement for the supply of uranium to India topped the agenda. Hailing India’s “absolutely impeccable non-proliferation record”, Abbott justified the decision to sell uranium ore by calling New Delhi a “model international citizen”, ignoring public concern that imports of uranium ore from Australia would allow India to allocate more of its own domestic supply for nuclear weapons purposes. Why this imperative of “security cooperation” between India and Australia, one might ask?

In his address to the joint session of the Australian Parliament on 18 November, Modi stressed greater cooperation on maritime security, working “together on the seas”, as he put it, to ensure, one might posit, that the United States (US), Japan, Australia and India maintain their naval dominance in the Indo-Pacific region. In 2006-07, the four nations, united as “democracies” against the “autocratic” People’s Republic of China, had made significant headway in moving towards a quadrilateral security arrangement, but then, the Labour Party Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had second thoughts and pulled his government out of this groundwork in the making. But Rudd was displaced and sidelined in his own party, replaced by Julia Gillard who quickly brought Canberra to do what Washington wanted it to do – become a lynchpin in the US’s “Pivot to Asia” directed against China.

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