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Eye on China: India, US, Japan, Australia 'Quad' Discuss 'Free, Open, Prosperous & Inclusive' Indo-Pacific

For Representation. (Image: Indian Navy)

For Representation. (Image: Indian Navy)

In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the officials reaffirmed their commitment towards a "free, open, prosperous and inclusive" Indo-Pacific region based on shared values and principles and respect for international law.

New Delhi: Senior officials of India, the US, Japan and Australia on Friday held a virtual meeting under the framework of Quadrilateral coalition or "Quad", focusing on ways to promote peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. The meeting took place in the backdrop of China's growing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.

The foreign ministers of the four member nations of the "Quad" are set to hold talks in Tokyo next month to further boost their cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the officials reaffirmed their commitment towards a "free, open, prosperous and inclusive" Indo-Pacific region based on shared values and principles and respect for international law.

It said the officials exchanged views on ongoing and proposed practical cooperation in the areas of maritime security, counter-terrorism, connectivity and infrastructure development with the objective of promoting peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific. The MEA said the officials reiterated their firm support for ASEAN-centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms for the Indo-Pacific, and their readiness to work with ASEAN and all other countries towards realising a common and promising vision for the Indo-Pacific. Ten-nation regional grouping Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a major stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific region.

"In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, the officials underscored the importance of enhancing the resilience of supply chains and sharing best practices on how to combat the pandemic," it said. A statement by the US said the four countries explored ways to work together in the Mekong sub-region, in the South China Sea, and across the Indo-Pacific to support international law, pluralism, regional stability, and post-pandemic recovery efforts. "Noting the importance of digital connectivity and secure networks, the officials discussed ways to promote the use of trusted vendors, particularly for fifth generation (5G) networks," it said. "They explored ways to enhance coordination on counterterrorism, maritime security, cyber security, and regional connectivity, as well as quality infrastructure based upon international best practices," it added.

In November 2017, the four countries gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the "Quadrilateral" coalition or "Quad" to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence. India is also expanding bilateral cooperation with Japan, the US and Australia in the Indo-Pacific region.

On its part, the US has been pushing for a greater role for India in the Indo-Pacific which is seen by many countries as an effort to contain China's growing clout in the region.


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