India Joins 'Quadrilateral' With Australia, Japan and United States to Limit China's Intrusion

India Joins 'Quadrilateral' With Australia, Japan and United States to Limit China's Intrusion

With an eye on China's activities in the region, India said that the first meeting of its officials with those from the US, Australia and Japan - described as the "quadrilateral" - 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 formation of a quadrilateral security dialogue comprising India, the US, Australia and Japan was first mooted around 10 years ago but it did not see the light of day.

Even as India, the U.S. and Japan have a trilateral dialogue mechanism in place for issues relating to the Indo-Pacific region, Japanese Foreign Minister Tara Kono said in October that Tokyo was for a top-level quadrilateral dialogue that would also include Australia. "The relevant proposal should be open and inclusive and should be conducive to the win-win cooperation and avoid politicising or excluding some relevant parties", Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said.

India's "Act East" policy and stronger collective approach to fighting terrorism would be the focus during Modi's discussions at the Asean and EPC meetings, officials said. "We welcome the development of friendly cooperation between relevant countries, but we hope this will not be directed at any third party".

The officials examined ways to achieve common goals and address shared challenges in the region. China has been busy promoting President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road initiative, an extensive infrastructure plan to recreate the ancient Silk Road, linking Asia with the Middle East and Europe, which critics say is more about spreading Chinese influence.

"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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"The two leaders are expected to discuss the common strategy for Indo-Pacific, a great deal of which figured in Sunday's meeting (of the quadrilateral)", an official said in New Delhi on Sunday.

A senior White House official had said that "we have strong and growing ties with India".

"And this persuasive approach is needed to bring the world's attention to the issue of cross-border terrorism and safe havens for terrorists that threat regional peace and stability in the region", India's former envoy to the United States said.

Asked how China viewed the Indo-Pacific concept, Geng said peace and win-win cooperation is the trend of the times.

"I think all relevant parties can put forward their vision and proposal on how to develop cooperation between the countries and regions. The concept is Asia-Pacific or Indo-Pacific, or whether the region is Indo-Pacific or Asia-Pacific, it should correspond with the trend of the times and trend of the world", he said.

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