By: Shubham Ghosh
Calling Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and Japan’s late prime minister Shinzo Abe “father” of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad, Australia’s former premier Tony Abbott on Saturday (4) said the grouping is almost a unique product and the “world should be immensely grateful to both of them.”
Speaking to the Asian News International, Abbott, who served in the top post between 2013 and 2015, said Quad is the most important strategic development in the world since the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
He further said that Abe, who was assassinated during an election campaign in Japan last year, and Modi are the only Asian leaders who could have initiated the Quad.
“So I think 2 fathers of QUAD are Shinzo Abe and Modi and the world should be immensely grateful to both of them,” Abbott said.
Talking about the India Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), the 65-year-old Australian leader said, “It is getting stronger and stronger over time. The ECTA – Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement – that we have finalised last year symbolises this new strength.”
“I also think that the cavalcade of Australian ministers who have been in Delhi over the last couple of weeks – and the PM is coming in just a week or so — is also highly symbolic of the strength and the relationship,” he added.
Reflecting on Canberra’s relationship with New Delhi, the former Australian prime minister said that India is an increasingly close strategic partner.
India is a country which has always been a natural partner for Australia, he said.
Meanwhile, regarding its relations with China, Abbott said, “Australia has nothing against Chinese people. They are everywhere, we just wanted to get ahead of the problem Chinese communist party, which is aggressively pursuing global domination.
“China is bullying all its neighbours and casting a deeply malevolent eye on Taiwan. I have to say that any attempt by China to take Taiwan would be horrific by several orders of magnitude. It would be greater than the conflict in Ukraine. We have to collectively raise the cost to Beijing of any aggression across the Taiwan strait.”
“I am confident that this will help to showcase India not just as a regional power but as the world’s second democratic superpower I think this is very much a side of India’s strategic and diplomatic age,” he said while talking about the host nation’s G20 presidency.
On Friday (3), Abbott said in a panel discussion on ‘Materials that Matter: Battle for Securing Critical Supply Chains’ during the Raisina Dialogue, India’s premier conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics, that China uses trade as a weapon in a way that almost no other country does.
He said China wants the whole world to be dependent on it but it wants to be independent of the world.
“China wants the rest of the world to be dependent on it and it wants to be completely independent for its part of the rest of the world. And this is part of the clearly stated objective of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) to be the world’s number one power by mid-century. And I think we have to appreciate that China uses trade as a weapon in a way that almost no other country does. So I think we have to be very conscious of just how exposed we could be,” Abbott said.
(With ANI inputs)