India is bonding fast and furious, with foreign countries, by building partnerships but avoiding alliances. If anyone thought that India was heading towards an Asian NATO through the Indo-Pacific Quad, then kindly think again.
While a partnership with the quartet-India plus Australia, Japan and the United States thrown in, New Delhi is also showing nuanced awareness of a rapidly emerging multipolar world, where American power remains strong but in steep decline. Plus, the change of administrationÂ-from a firmly committed Donald Trump to India's geopolitical relevance to a Biden administration which is sending mixed signals - including sending warships into India's Exclusive Economic Zone without informing New Delhi or going soft on India's most wanted - Dawood Ibrahim.
It is therefore significant that after action-oriented movement on the Quad along with military exercises with partner countries, India without involving Washington, is cementing ties with France and Australia as a trilateral group. Unsurprisingly, stressing upon the reality of a changing world, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said during his intervention during the ongoing Raisina Dialogue that the world is moving towards "multipolarity, rebalancing & pluri-lateralism. Shared values and comforts are creating new combinations."
Jaishankar opened up about the unfolding of a new partnership between India, France and Australia. He said that India will not get confined between the Malacca Strait and Gulf of Aden, but will also work with countries like France and Australia to ensure an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. He was speaking at the Observer Research Foundation's (ORF) virtual conference along with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne.