India, US, Japan, Australia hold first quad talks on Indo-Pacific cooperation


India, US, Japan, Australia hold first quad talks on Indo-Pacific cooperation

"The discussions focussed on cooperation based on their converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region that they share with each other and with other partners".

"The relevant proposals should be open and inclusive and should be conducive to win-win cooperation and avoid politicising or excluding the relevant parties", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a media briefing in Beijing.

Department of State officials met with senior officials from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, India's Ministry of External Affairs, and Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 12, 2017 in Manila to discuss their shared vision for increased prosperity and security in a free and open Indo-Pacific 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 U.S. when it comes to choosing between India and China.

Responding to a question about persistent references of Indo-Pacific by the US and Japan saying that they want to establish leaders' dialogue mechanism between India, US, Japan and Australia and Tokyo's willingness to conduct cooperation with China under the new concept, Geng said China has noted the Japanese statement in this regard.

None of the four countries mentioned China in their readouts of the meeting.

Indo-Pacific refers to the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean regions, which also includes the disputed South China Sea.

Officials from India, Australia, the U.S. 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 US and Japan have been pushing for a deeper Indian role in the strategically key Indo-Pacific region.

He added that it was China's "consistent foreign policy" that it would "welcome development of friendly cooperation between relevant countries, and we hope this will not be directed at a third party".

On the sidelines, Modi is likely to have a series of bilateral meetings with a number of leaders including Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev.

The emerging quadrilateral is seen to counter China's aggressive maritime expansion under its Belt and Road initiative. A statement from India on Sunday said the meeting focused on "issues of common interest in the Indo-Pacific region". China's plans would cement a sphere of influence for Beijing well beyond Asia. The officials exchanged views on addressing challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity.

In its statement, the Japanese foreign ministry said officials discussed measures to ensure a free and open worldwide order based on the rule of law in the Indo- Pacific.