Published: Tue, November 14, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

India Joins Quadrilateral Dialogue Meeting With US, Australia & Japan

India Joins Quadrilateral Dialogue Meeting With US, Australia & Japan

Officials from India, Australia, the USA and Japan met here today and discussed issues relating to cooperation the Indo-Pacific region, seen as a first move to set up a quadrilateral grouping to pursue common interests amidst growing assertiveness by the Chinese military in the strategically key region.

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.

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".

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"They agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large", the MEA noted in the press-release. Although Trump was addressing a meeting alongside the APEC summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in the Vietnamese city of Danang on Friday, he repeatedly referred to the Indo-Pacific region and mentioned the importance of India in his speech.

A week later, the four countries seem to be closer to reviving the Quad, which was first mooted in 2007.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, has emerged as a key cornerstone of New Delhi's foreign policy, with its Look East Policy, launched by then Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao in 1992.

US President Donald Trump also separately met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as he pushed his vision of an Indo-Pacific region that attempts to de-emphasise China's influence.

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- A coming together of four democracies is in itself an implicit threat to China as it points out the stark difference in political systems of these four countries, all of whom, are democracies while China is a communist, totalitarian state.

The emerging quadrilateral is seen to counter China's aggressive maritime expansion under its Belt and Road initiative.

China has already reacted cautiously over the proposal by the Trump administration for a working-level quadrilateral meeting, saying Beijing hopes that it would not target or damage a "third party's interest".

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