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India, US rope in Japan, Aussies to take on China

India, US rope in Japan, Aussies to take on China

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. "The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity", it said in a statement.

India has been stating that it was open to working with like-minded countries while Japan and the U.S. were keen for greater role for New Delhi in Indo Pacific region.

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.

Quad attains significant as it is the first occasion when India outstretched itself beyond the region to play a key role in building a new rule-based global order.

The Australian Foreign Ministry said the four countries shared vision for increased prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific region and will work together to ensure that it "remains free and open".

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.

Also part of the discussions, said Japan, were proliferation threats, "including North Korea's nuclear and missile issues, against which maximized pressure needs to be applied, ensuring freedom of navigation and maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, and countering terrorism and other issues".

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"Officials also agreed to work together to address threats to worldwide peace and security posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including North Korea nuclear and missile programmes", the Australian Foreign Ministry said. "The participants committed to continuing quadrilateral discussions and deepening cooperation on the basis of shared values and principles", it said.

Seen as a first major move towards the quadrilateral security dialogue, or the "quad", the first meeting between officials from the four countries stressed on cooperation for promoting peace and stability in an increasingly inter-connected region, a release issued after the meeting said.

Manila: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump are likely to have a bilateral meeting on Monday on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit.

It will be the first meeting between the two leaders following a proposal to have a quadrilateral alliance among India, US, Japan and Australia.

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. Reacting to the Japanese move, India had said it was open to working with like-minded countries on issues that advance its interests. Chaired by Japan's ruling party chief Toshihiro Nikai and co-chaired by Rajya Sabha MP Dr Subhash Chandra, GPS will provide alternative developmental models to countries in the Indo-Pacific region which are threatened by China's predatory economics. The US had said it was looking at a "working-level" quadrilateral meeting in the near term with India, Japan and Australia.

Joint Secretary (South division) in the MEA Vinay Kumar and Joint Secretary in (East Asia) Pranay Verma attended the meeting. These are mainly euphemisms for China's aggressive policy in the South China sea, where it has been building islands and also refused to take part or accept worldwide tribunal judgement in dispute with Philippines. The two leaders are expected to deliberate on a number of key issues of mutual interest including the evolving security situation in the Indo-Pacific region where Washington favours a greater role by India.


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