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India Joins 'Quadrilateral' With Australia, Japan and U.S. to Limit China's Intrusion

India Joins 'Quadrilateral' With Australia, Japan and U.S. to Limit China's Intrusion

"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.

Talks on the quadrilateral - widely seen as a joint effort by the four countries to counter China in Asia - were held at Manila in the Philippines, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is participating in the East Asia Forum and Asean Summit.

The quadrilateral meeting of officials of the four countries in Manila - their leaders made a decision to have lower-level diplomats meet in a cautious beginning - has been followed closely by Beijing and strategic experts in China, coming on the heels of the Donald Trump administration rolling out an "Indo-Pacific" strategy that suggests a more broad approach to the region. Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had said the Indo-Pacific region is a "dynamic region" with great potential.

It is visible that from some time now, the president of United States, Donald Trump has been using the term "Indo-Pacific" instead of Asia-Pacific, which is his signal that India is more important to the USA when it comes to choosing between India and China.

During the meeting of officials, key issues of common interest in the "Indo-Pacific region" were discussed, with an eye on China and the aim reaching a common ground on a "free and open" Indo-Pacific - an apparent reference to freedom of navigation on the South China Sea.

In recent times, the Indo-Pacific region has emerged as the fulcrum of global security and economic developments.

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The Indian statement struck a cautious note, with the MEA noting that the discussions focused on cooperation based on "converging vision and values for the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region that they share with each other and with other partners".

"The relevant proposal [of forming the Indo-Pacific quad] should be open and inclusive and should be conducive to the win-win cooperation and avoid politicising or excluding some relevant parties", Mr. Geng observed. This includes upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and respect for worldwide law, freedom of navigation and overflight; increase connectivity; coordinate on efforts to address the challenges of countering terrorism and upholding maritime security in the Indo-Pacific.

Kono said the idea was for the leaders of the four countries to promote free trade and defence cooperation across a stretch of ocean from the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and all the way to Africa.

"Officials also agreed to work together to address threats to worldwide peace and security posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including the DPRK's (North Korea) nuclear and missile programmes", the Australian foreign ministry said.

China on Monday advised against excluding "relevant" countries from the quadrilateral coalition floated by the US, India, Japan and Australia, and said the group's policies shouldn't be directed at a third party.

"Let's be clear that there is a growing anxiety in the Indo-Pacific with Chinese assertiveness, further complicated by the uncertainty over US's role in the region".


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