Quad members reiterate vision of free and open Indo-Pacific region


Quad is an informal strategic forum between the United States, Japan, Australia and India maintained by information exchanges and military drills. (Image Source: Twitter/Dr S. Jaishankar)

The Quad meeting took place amidst China’s aggressive military behavior in the South China Sea and along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) meeting with his counterparts from India, Japan, and Australia on Thursday. During the virtual meeting, Blinken, India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi restated their mutual vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.

The meeting took place amidst China’s aggressive military behavior in the South China Sea and along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. China’s rising military assertiveness has become a major concern among leading global powers. The United States has noted that working closely with allies will be key to its strategy toward China.

US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that the foreign ministers deliberated about “the priority of strengthening democratic resilience in the broader region,” and vowed, “to strengthen cooperation on advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region, including support for freedom of navigation and territorial integrity.”

According to a statement, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi expressed serious concern about China’s Coast Guard Law, and the four ministers vowed to oppose “unilateral and forceful attempts to change the status quo” in the East and the South China Sea.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne in a statement said the Quad “is a key pillar of Australia’s international agenda, bringing together four like-minded democracies committed to respecting and upholding international rules and obligations.”

In a statement, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said: “Their productive exchange of views on regional issues included a reiteration of common vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, with clear support for ASEAN cohesion and centrality. It was noted that the Indo-Pacific concept had gathered growing international support, including in Europe.

The MEA statement also said that the leaders also discussed issues including, the recent developments in Myanmar, the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and furthering cooperation in areas such as maritime security, supply chain resilience, and counter-terrorism.

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