The EAM said he had been personally involved with the progress of the Quad over the past several years

India, Japan, Australia and the US—the informal grouping of the four countries in the Indo-Pacific region---fill a very important gap that has emerged in contemporary times, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar told a group of Indian media persons on Saturday after concluding his meetings in Washington DC.

He said there are global and regional requirements, which cannot be filled by a single country. The EAM said this gap cannot be filled by one bilateral relationship, and which is not being addressed at the multilateral level.

The EAM who is on a five-day visit to the US, the first by a senior ranking Cabinet Minister since Joe Biden became the US President on January 20, made it clear that India has no confusion about its membership to the Quad. He said he had been personally involved with its progress over the past several years, including when he was the Foreign Secretary of India.

The Quad aims at strengthening a rules-based order in the strategically-important Indo-Pacific amidst China's aggressive actions in the region.

EAM Jaishankar said, “We are members of Quad. When we are members of anything, we are very keen about it, otherwise, we won't be its members. We have clarity on the Quad.”

The Quad was one of the key issues of discussion between Jaishankar and top officials of the Biden administration, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

“Quad used to (and) still does discuss maritime security and connectivity, in recent years. It has started to discuss technology issues, supply chain issues and vaccine production. There are marine, sort of safety quality issues. So, there are a whole set of issues,” the EAM said.

Without taking the name of any country, he said there are many, many concerns which have to be addressed by somebody.

Big countries can do a large portion of it. Big relationships can add to it. “But at the end of the day, most things work better if a group of countries sit together and say, okay, we all have similar positions and similar interests, and why don't we all sit and address those sets of issues,” the EAM observed.

“So that is how we see the Quad. The Quad is an expression of the convergence of interests of many countries. It is in many ways a reflection of the contemporary nature of the world, where it is not a set off, you know at some stage, we have to put the Cold War behind us. It is only those who are stuck in the Cold War who cannot understand the Quad,” he said.