India, Australia, US and Japan discussed issues relating to cooperation in Indo-Pacific

Vastavam web: Officials from India, Australia, the US 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.The external affairs ministry said the discussions focused on cooperation based on converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region.The Indian side highlighted India’s Act East Policy as the cornerstone of its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono last month had said that Tokyo favours a dialogue between Japan, the US, India and Australia to further boost strategic partnership among them.The move to set up the quadrilateral comes in the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea.The US has been favouring a larger role for India in the strategically key Indo-Pacific region.Reacting to the Japanese move, India had said it was open to working with like-minded countries on issues that advance its interests.
The US had said it was looking at a “working-level” quadrilateral meeting in the near term with India, Japan and Australia.Speaking at a gathering of CEOs on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Vietnamese port city of Danang, Trump cited India as one of the countries in the Indo-Pacific region making strides.The use of the term Indo-Pacific by President Trump has led to speculation that it may have something to do with Washington preparing the ground for a revival of the so-called Quadrilateral strategic alliance between the US, Japan, Australia and India to counter China’s rise.