Controlling the Indo-Pacific: India, US, Japan Australia resurrect quadrilateral dialogue

Dr Subhash Chandra

The US State Department stated that the officials had "examined ways to achieve common goals and address common challenges in the region, such as: upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific, including freedom of navigation and overflight, respect for global law, and the peaceful resolution of disputes".

It is learnt that China's rising military presence in the South China Sea figured in talks between Modi and Trump apart from a host of other regional and global issues, including terrorism emanating from Pakistan, North Korea's missile tests, situation in Afghanistan and the Gulf region as well as effect of violence in Myanmar's Rakhaine state.

Yesterday, representatives of India, US, Japan and Australia gave a thumbs up for a "free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region" after the first meeting on the "Indo-Pacific" on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Manila.

In his speech, Geng Shuang also mentioned, "US-brokered proposal of these countries to ensure free and open "Indo-Pacific"... should avoid politicising or excluding some relevant parties".

Terming Donald Trump a "commercially minded" president, the article said that he is likely unwilling to assume more responsibility for the economy and security of its allies.

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Modi was also seen chit-chatting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at the reception for the leaders who have arrived here for the 31st ASEAN summit and related meetings.

"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 meeting, held a day before the ASEAN summit begins in the Philippines capital, also discussed the "common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region", according to the Ministry of External Affairs. The US has been favouring a larger role for India in the strategically key Indo-Pacific region.

The MEA said, "The discussions focused on cooperation based on their converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region that they share with each other and with other partners".

India joined US, Japan and Australia to launch a quad, but cautiously averted sounding harsh on China, although the four-nation initiative is aimed at containing the communist country in Indo-Pacific.

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