The AUKUS trilateral security pact will be a “new element” and “game changer” in the Indo-Pacific region, US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman said Thursday in Mumbai.
The United States (USA) has many other agreements with India, so “these parts do not compete with each other,” and the ultimate goal is to keep the Indo-Pacific region open and free, she said during a virtual engagement.
The American diplomat also said that China is “seeking to undermine” the same international order that has allowed it to grow for decades.
Sherman, who met with business leaders and civil society representatives here as part of her three-day visit to the country, also said the US is aware of India’s fears of terrorism spreading from Taliban-run Afghanistan.
The Quad, which brings together the US, Japan, India and Australia, is one of the “vehicles” that mainly works in security areas that are not military or non-defense, and covers other aspects such as vaccines, infrastructure, supply chains and cd technology too, she said.
“Aukus is a new element in the agreement between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia that they will consider helping Australia build nuclear submarines for the next 18 months. They are faster, harder to spot, more maneuverable and very useful in the Indo-Pacific.
“We have many other permitting agreements with India. So these things are not in competition. They are all pieces of a puzzle that will ensure we have an open, free, interconnected Indo-Pacific region, ”Sherman said when asked about AUKUS versus Quad.
With regard to the Taliban, she said their words should be followed by actions such as preventing reprisals, building inclusive government and empowering women to work and girls to get education.
“And so far they have not fulfilled their obligations,” she said.
The diplomat added that the United States highly appreciates India’s concern about the possibility of the spread of terrorism from Afghanistan to the region as a whole.
Sherman said India’s rise in the past decade has been fueled by a “rules-based international order,” like China.
“The two countries have followed completely different paths. Today, Beijing seeks to undermine a system that has benefited it for decades, ”she said, adding that this is why it is important for democracies to deliver results for their people.
As the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, India is a decisive leader in the fight against COVID-19, she said.
Quad members have pledged to donate 1.2 billion doses of vaccines worldwide, as well as fund more doses through COVAX, Sherman said.
“Through the Quad Vacine partnership, we will support expanded manufacturing at Biological E Ltd, delivering at least 1 billion doses of vaccines by the end of next year,” she added.
Sherman arrived on Tuesday for a three-day visit to India. In Mumbai, she met with Vice Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Commander-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command.