India in the driver seat of Quad, says US Ambassador Eric Garcetti


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US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti said India is in the “driving seat” of the Quad, while America is in the seat next to it with the “corrective steering wheel”, and added that it is up to India to “forcefully define” the nature of the diplomatic partnership.

Garcetti, speaking here at the 17th edition of Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), used a rather unique analogy of ‘eating, drinking and sharing a ride together’ to explain the different roles of member countries in the Quad.

The Quad is a diplomatic partnership between India, the US, Australia, and Japan to deepen economic, diplomatic, and military ties among the four countries.

“India is very much in the driver seat of the Quad… may be America is in the next seat with the corrective steering wheel, I think Japan has been an avid navigator from the beginning and Australia is really excited to be back in the car and asking if everybody has enough to drink and eat, and where we are going.

“So it is a great time and we love these different roles. I want to sit in the back some other time and relax, but it is in some ways up to India to most forcefully define what we want to do with the Quad,” said Garcetti on Saturday in a session, “Heart of the Matter: Quad and the new Indo-Pacific Vision”.

Quad can be the “model for the world” as it is “very strong and stable”, not just in geometry but in diplomacy as well – more than multilateral institutions such as the UN, which he claimed “don’t have much efficacy”. “Bilaterals are always engaging but the two countries get a little bored of each other when it is just direct,” he added.

Garcetti used another analogy to explain his point better. “It is like a dinner party, invite three people, it gets more interesting, four people, now you have a party, when others want to come to the party… now you know you have got something special,” he explained.

Though he admitted that the Quad is not a group where the four member countries agree on every vote in multilateral institutions, Garcetti asserted it is not a “talk shop” either.

The Quad group, was reinstated in 2017 after a gap of 10 years. It remained inactive due to protests from China.

The JLF 2024, touted to be the “biggest literary festival in the world”, will see the participation of the world’s best thinkers, writers, and speakers till February 5.

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