Giving a fitting response to China's criticism of Quad, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said the group's record and stance on its positive agenda is fairly clear, and criticizing it repeatedly doesn't make it less credible.
China on Friday had said it believes that the Quad group "cobbled together" by the US, Japan, India and Australia is a "tool for containing and besieging China". "It aims to stoke confrontation and undermine international solidarity and cooperation," said Zhao Lijian, Chinese Foreign Minister spokesperson.
Responding to China's comment, Jaishankar said the Quad Foreign Ministers on Friday made a point that they want to do positive things to contribute to peace, prosperity, stability of the region. "Our record, actions and stance are fairly clear. Criticizing it repeatedly doesn't make us less credible," he said during the joint press conference with his Australian counterpart Marise Payne.
On the India-China bilateral issues, the minister said, "Yes, we (Quad) discussed India-China relations because it was part of how we briefed each other about what was happening in our neighbourhood. It's an issue in which a lot of countries legitimately take an interest, particularly if they are from the Indo-Pacific region."
Jaishankar explained how the situation at the border has arisen due to the disregard by China of written agreements with India not to mass forces at the border. "So, when a large country disregards written commitments, I think it's an issue of a legitimate concern for the entire international community," he added.
Addressing the presser alongside Payne, Jaishankar said the two sides discussed briefly the progress in defence and security cooperation which reflects growing strategic convergence. The inaugural cyber framework dialogue was useful in reviewing joint activities under a framework agreement, he said.
The minister also announced that both countries shared concerns about terrorism and extremism. "We have serious concerns about continuing cross border terrorism and it is our shared endeavor to deepen counter-terrorism cooperation including in the multilateral fora."
He further said Australia and India will continue to work towards rule-based international order, freedom of navigation in international waters, promoting connectivity, growth, and security for all while respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states.
This bilateral meeting comes a day after the 4th Quad Foreign Ministers Meeting on Friday.