NEW DELHI, December 6./TASS/. Russia and India plan to resist attempts by the US and its allies to substitute a dialogue within ASEAN with bloc formats, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists following talks with Indian counterpart Subramanyam Jaishankar and the Russian-Indian consultations of the defense and foreign ministers in the 2+2 format.
"Here our positions and the positions of our Indian colleagues also coincide. We will do everything possible to resist such Indo-Pacific ploys, and Indo-Pacific strategies, [like] AUKUS and other opaque formats, bloc-like formats, from actually trying to marginalize ASEAN and ASEAN-centric structures that have been created here over the past decades, Lavrov emphasized.
According to Lavrov, attempts could already be seen to change the well-established rules within the ASEAN formats. "We have agreed with our Indian partners that we will be taking care of what has already been created, and will support the ASEAN-centric format of the security architecture and cooperation in this region, that is suitable for all without exception," Lavrov went on to say.
He stressed that India had ‘distanced itself distinctly’ from AUKUS, meanwhile participating in a four-party dialogue on security Quad (India, Japan, Australia and the US). "[The Indians] are emphasizing in every way their interest in economic, transport and infrastructure projects of this group," he pointed out. "I think that this Indian position explains to a sizable extent that the military component of the US strategy was moved into the AUKUS format," the top diplomat added.
"Attempts will be made now to expand it [AUKUS]. There have already been statements that Japan and South Korea are to join. I have serious doubts that this will facilitate peace and stability," Lavrov stressed.
"Of course, risks emerge, I have already mentioned the risks that are created for the nuclear non-proliferation regime," he said.
"The Americans, [US Secretary of State Antony] Blinken, promised when we met these days in Stockholm, on the sidelines of the OSCE Ministerial Council, to explain in detail how they see the compliance with the norms of the nuclear non-proliferation within the framework of putting into practice that Australian project," he added.