India, Australia, US and Japan hold first 'quadrilateral' meeting

Dr Subhash Chandra

Global summit on Indo Pacific development

Indicating the simmering regional tension with China and Beijing's assertiveness over the South China Sea issue, a statement from the Australian Foreign Ministry informed that freedom of navigation figured at the 'Quad.' It said, "upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and respect for global law, freedom of navigation and overflight; increase (d) connectivity; challenges of countering terrorism and upholding maritime security in the Indo-Pacific" were also discussed.

China on Monday said the countries should work for a "free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region".

"From this perspective, the participants discussed the direction for cooperation, including with countries in the region, in upholding the rules-based order and respect for worldwide law in the Indo-Pacific", it said. "The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity", it said in a statement.

There have been concerns over China's growing military presence in the Indo-Pacific and the issue was understood to have figured in a meeting of officials from India, the US, Japan and Australia today under the proposed Quadrilateral coalition of the four countries.

Indo-Pacific refers to the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean regions, which also includes the disputed South China Sea. Chinese Foreign Ministry has expressed hope that the dialogue is not used for "targeting or damaging third party's interest".

Experts in India aren't surprised with the revival of the quadrilateral dialogue.

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The concept of quadrilateral dialogue was mooted in 2007 but didn't make any progress.

Asked whether he meant "exclusion of the relevant parties" referred to omission of China, Geng said China welcomes the development of friendly cooperation between relevant countries.

On October 18, US Secretary of State Rex W Tillerson said talks were on between the countries to create alternative financing mechanisms. And the strategy is "certainly not" to contain China, he said.

The initiative is also significant as India had boycotted the OBOR summit in Beijing on the grounds that connectivity projects can not be unilateral initiatives, must respect sovereignty and have transparent funding.

By Nirendra Dev Manila, Nov 12 (UNI) One day ahead of his crucial bilateral meeting in less than a year - since their last meeting in Washington- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday evening held separate pull-aside meetings with the US President Donald Trump and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang among others on the sidelines of a gala dinner.

He was answering a spate of questions on the Indo-Pacific concept and the quadrilateral meeting held on Sunday at Manila. The RCEP, comprising 10-member ASEAN bloc and six other countries - India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand - is engaged in negotiations for a free trade pact.

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