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

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

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.

Skirting any direct response to the first quadrilateral meeting of India, US, Japan and Australia, China on Monday questioned its exclusion from the group and expressed hope that the new concept of "Indo-Pacific" is not directed against it. It came a day ahead of a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump in the Philippine capital of Manila on the sidelines of the crucial ASEAN-India and East Asia summits.

An External Affairs Ministry statement in New Delhi said foreign officials from India, Australia, Japan and the United States met in the Philippines capital and held consultations "on issues of common interest in the Indo-Pacific region".

Japan's foreign minister Taro Kono last month had said that Tokyo favours the quadrilateral dialogue to further boost strategic partnership among the four countries.

Beijing has reacted warily to the "Indo-Pacific" approach, viewing it as aimed at supporting a more prominent role for India in an interconnected region and, some Chinese analysts say, also aimed at diluting China's influence. Chinese Foreign Ministry has expressed hope that the dialogue is not used for "targeting or damaging third party's interest".

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. "We will not be able to compete with the kind of terms that China offers, but countries have to decide: What are they willing to pay to secure their sovereignty and their future control of their economies And we've had those discussions with them, as well", he said.

Indo-Pacific broadly refers to the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean regions, which also includes the disputed South China Sea where Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei question China's claims over nearly the entire waterway.

"Promoting the stability and the development of the Asia Pacific region is the common responsibility of the regional countries".

"It is also the trend of the world".

"All relevant parties can put forward their vision and proposal on how to develop cooperation between countries and regions".

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.

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