France says it is comfortable with Quad, four-nation grouping different from security alliance AUKUS

New Delhi [India] : France has said that it is adopting a pragmatic approach and is comfortable with the functioning of Quad and the four-nation grouping cannot be seen in the same light as security alliance AUKUS.
The French Ambassador to India Emmanuel Lenain said how France interacts with Quad depends on the way it is evolved. “If I look at the statements including by the Indian officials, there is a clear difference between military alliance AUKUS and a more broader, global group of countries which is Quad. How do we interact with Quad depends on the way it is evolved. Right now we are pretty comfortable with the way how Quad is making announcements and working, we will see they deliver on it and decided to be very pragmatic on that. We are result-oriented and it will depend. We are absolutely not against any cooperation on a case-to-case basis, as you may have seen in the month of April, the Quad navies joined French military exercise and it was quite a success.”
AUKUS is a trilateral security agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States for the Indo-Pacific region announced on September 15 this year.
AUKUS is seen as a big setback for France as Australia has cancelled an order of French submarines and decided to work with the US and Britain to build nuclear-powered submarines.
Australia defends the move saying it has taken this step to make Indo-Pacific more secure and to check the high-handedness of China in the region.
Pointing to AUKUS, the envoy said there are two ways to face a challenge – either develop strategic autonomy or rely on other nations for security.
“It’s up to Australia to decide which one they purchase. If I look at the reason that they put forward to explain this change, they are facing threat by China, you can just discuss are you really better off if you launch a programme that will be ready, maybe, 10 years later at best because the schedule is still to be defined. We don’t know when. More importantly, it’s really about what you want to do for the country, you want to keep your autonomy or you want to put your security in the hands of other countries,” he said
France also said that military confrontational bloc is not the answer to problems in the Indo-Pacific region and a much broader approach is needed.
“You know our approach. We don’t think the logic of blocs being military confrontational is the answer to our problem. We feel that we need a much broader approach with much more partnership between countries, we need to provide an alternative to order pushed by certain countries in the region, we need a positive agenda,” he said.
The first in-person Quad summit, hosted by US President Joe Biden, was held in Washington last week. The group includes Australia, India, Japan and the US.
Critics say that AUKUS has diluted the relevance of Quad. However, India has already clarified that AUKUS is a security alliance and Quad is a grouping of like-minded democracies.

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