Quad nations to boost coordination to counter China in Indo-Pacific

Topics Quad | Indo-Pacific | Australia

Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar with his Japanese and Australian counterparts Toshimitsu Motegi, Marise Payne, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday | Photo: Reuters
Amid the growing global concern over China's expansionist behaviour, India, the US, Japan, and Australia on Tuesday agreed to step up coordination in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

In his opening remarks at a ministerial meeting of the Quadrilateral coalition or 'Quad' in Tokyo, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said advancing security and economic interests of all countries having legitimate and vital interests in the Indo-Pacific remained a key priority.

"We remain committed to upholding the rules-based international order, underpinned by the rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation in the international seas, respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty and peaceful resolution of disputes," he said. "Our objective remains advancing the security and the economic interests of all countries having legitimate and vital interests in the region."

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne affirmed strengthening of a free, open and rules-based international order, the Japanese government said in a statement issued after a meeting in Tokyo.

Pompeo, too, called for deeper collaboration with India, Japan, and Australia as a bulwark against China's growing regional influence. In comments before the start of the  Quad meeting, he said: "As partners in this Quad, it is more critical now than ever that we collaborate to protect our people and partners from the Chinese Communist Party's exploitation, corruption and coercion...We see it in the South and East China Seas, the Mekong, the Himalayas, the Taiwan Strait."

India, according to reports, is expected to invite Australia to take part in an annual naval drill, expanding what has been a trilateral event with the US and Japan.

Suga, Japan's new prime minister, said Quad's “free and open Indo-Pacific” initiative, a concept to counter China's growing assertiveness, is more important than ever amid challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic. " This is exactly why right now is the time that we must further deepen our coordination with as many countries as possible that share our vision."

Beijing has denounced the Quad as an attempt to contain its development.

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