New Delhi: India's Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat on Thursday (September 3) backed Quad--a grouping of 4 countries--India, US, Japan, and Australia, calling it a "good arrangement" that can become a "system" to ensure freedom of navigation at the high seas.
Speaking at USISPF or US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, CDS Rawat said, "we are very keen to ensure that complete freedom of navigations on the seas and the airspace above. As far as the Quad is concerned, we feel its a good arrangement that will ensure that the Indian Ocean region and all other oceans around" has "complete freedom of navigation" and without taking the name of China explained, "without fear of any other nation, singularly trying to dominate the ocean."
China has been trying to dominate in the South China Sea, claiming the majority of the international water on the basis of its nine-dash line. The nine-dash line is a Chinese govt back construct which is Bejing's claim to the south china sea and has been rejected by an arbitral tribunal constituted under the United Nations Convention on the law of the sea.
Rawat said, "largest number of ships and oil reserves and oil requirements pass through this area. So we want the quad to actually become a system to ensure freedom of navigation".
This is for the first time he has made such a comment and comes even as likeminded countries like India, the US, and others are increasing engagement in the Indo Pacific region.
India is expected to hold Quad ministerial meet soon, which will be the 2nd such meet after last year's meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General assembly in New York.