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No proposal for trilateral pact with India, US: Australia


New Delhi : A day after New Delhi rejected the suggestion for a trilateral security accord, Australia Friday clarified that it has not proposed any such arrangement between New Delhi, Canberra and Washington.

“Australia has not proposed such a trilateral arrangement,” the Australian high commission here said in a statement.

The high commission also denied media reports quoting Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd “characterising India’s views on a trilateral security dialogue between India, Australia and the US” as “wrong”.

In an interview with the Australian Financial Review newspaper, Rudd was quoted as saying that the formation of a security pact between India, Australia and the US could come into being if Canberra ends a ban on uranium sales.

Rudd was also quoted saying that the response from the Indian government “has really been quite positive” to the proposal for a trilateral arrangement.

However, the Australian high commission Friday said the minister was responding to a question about the proposed change in Australia’s uranium policy.

On Rudd’s reported remarks, New Delhi Thursday reacted sharply, saying it was not aware of any such trilateral security proposal.

India’s defence ministry officials took a tougher stand, saying they were taken aback at the statement of the Australian foreign minister.

The defence ministry also stated that it is also not “keen on hopping to any multilateral security constructs in the region excepting those under the UN flag or such broad-based arrangements as ASEAN Defence Ministers Meet (ADMM +) and ASEAN Regional Forum.”

Beijing has already objected to the proposed India-US-Japan trilateral dialogue. Another trilateral between India, the US and Australia, informed sources said, could aggravate Beijing’s anxieties that such arrangements are meant to encircle it.