Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla during the press conference Photograph:( WION )
Quad is often seen as a group of countries that wants to contain growing assertiveness of China. However, India's Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla denied that Quad's infrastructure initiative was designed to counter China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
India's Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla on Saturday (September 25) said that infrastructure partnership between Quad nations was independent of 'any other parameters', indirectly denying that Quad infra initiative was a counter to China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). He was responding to WION's Executive Editor Palki Sharma's question during press conference.
"You spoke about infrastructure partnership, can you detail something on the scale and scope of this? And is this comparable to China's BRI which has pushed countries into debt? Also, is Quad going to have a military dimension?" asked Palki Sharma.
"The idea is to provide certain standards to provide a certain level of transparency," said Shringla.
Reading from a paper in his hand, Shringla said that Quad infrastructure partnership would look at "mapping region's infrastructure needs, co-ordinating regional needs and opportunities, providing technical assistance, empowering regional partners with evaluative tools, promoting sustainable infrastructure development"
On repeating the question on military angle of the Quad. Shringla avoided direct comment.
Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is China's ambitious infrastructure project that is expected to span Asia, Europe by land and even Africa via waterways. However, China's approach has raised alarm worldwide. The countries implementing BRI projects on their soil are often seen to get stuck in a debt trap thus keeping their economies at China's mercy.
Quad grouping, comprising of Australia, India, Japan and the USA is often perceived as a group of nations that wants to contain growing Chinese assertiveness.
Quad countries had their first-ever in-person summit in Washington on Saturday (local time).
In the run-up to the Quad summit China expressed its displeasure as said that the grouping was “doomed to fail”.