When the defense arrangement between the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom (UK), known as AUKUS, was announced last month, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said the deal was “neither relevant to the Quad, nor will it have any impact on its functioning.” The statement, made just before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to visit the United States for the first in-person Quad summit, was an attempt to downplay the significance of AUKUS for India and forestall any distractions from the summit.
Yet, for India, the new defense agreement is inextricably tied to its own participation in and strategic calculations vis-à-vis the Quad. In particular, AUKUS highlights some of the dilemmas that India faces with regard to the Quad: whether to share or pass the burden to contain China in the Indo-Pacific and whether to commit to even greater reliance on the United States as its defense partner.
Manjari Chatterjee Miller is senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). She is also a research associate in the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies at the University of Oxford. An expert on India, China, South Asia, and rising powers, she is the author of Why Nations Rise: Narratives and the Path to Great Power (2021) and Wronged by Empire: Post-Imperial Ideology and Foreign Policy in India and China (2013). Miller is also the co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of China-India Relations (2020), a monthly columnist for the Hindustan Times, and a frequent contributor to policy and media outlets in the United States and Asia.
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