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Australian Minister Penny Wong on the role of the quad

New Delhi:

The Quad is crucial in terms of the balance of power in Southeast Asia and the growing partnership with India is important in terms of a “shared vision” on what is happening in the region, the minister said today Australian Foreign Affairs Officer, Penny Wong, to NDTV in an exclusive interview.

India and Australia, she said, share “democratic traditions that we value, democratic institutions that we value and interests in what kind of region we want to live in… it’s a peaceful, stable and prosperous region, a region where sovereignty is respected.” is respected, and so we work together to ensure that happens,” she said.

Asked how Australia views its relationship with China as opposed to Quad, often seen as an “anti-China alliance”, Ms Wong – who is in Delhi for the second India-Australia 2+2 ministerial dialogue – said said Australia would continue to engage with China and disagree where necessary.

The Quad, she said, is a group of countries that are interested in “what’s happening in our region, looking to bring value to countries in the region.”

“These are countries that share a common vision on the importance of the international system, the international rule of law and transparent and fair trade agreements. And it’s a good thing that we work together and it’s a partnership very important,” he added. she says.

Quad, a four-nation alliance bringing together the United States, Japan, Australia and India, was revived in 2017 and one of its main drivers has been China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo region. -Peaceful. India is seen by some as a possible counterweight to China, both in economic and geopolitical terms.

Asked about China’s role in the region, Ms Wong said Australia was focused on “the importance of respecting international law”.

“Australia is a middle power. We rely heavily on the international system. So when we look at the South China Sea or the training agreements, we see the importance for countries like India and Australia to affirm that the rules that have been agreed are standards that have been agreed upon are respected,” she added.

The next Quad meeting will take place in January. It is hoped that trade negotiations between India and Australia will be part of the agenda.

Asked about this, Ms Wong said there was “a bit of work to be done”.

“We already have an agreement between our two countries, which provides for many commitments without tariffs, without tariffs… It’s going to take work on both sides… (who have to) deal with some of the sensitive issues in their own economy” , she said.

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