US President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced a major re-focus on the Quad-an informal grouping of the United States, Japan, India and Australia, saying it needed to be revitalised to maintain a free and secure Pacific region.
“Together, PM Narendra Modi and I are revitalising the Quad initiative,” he said of the concept, which China views as a counterweight to its rising influence in the region. Talking of the progress made on the Quad front, Trump said, “Since I took office, we have held the first Quad ministerial meeting…
I guess you would call it a meeting, but it seems like so much more than that.”
He said the countries have expanded co-operation on counter-terrorism, besides cyber and maritime security, to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region.” The president was referring to the first ministerial-level meeting held in September 2019 in New York.
Analysts on defence strategy believe that the message is designed for Australia, the fourth of the Quad nations, to complete the quadrilateral as Japan is already a strong supporter of the Quad. In 2008 Australia had declined to be a part of the grouping.
“This is clearly an American attempt to make Australia also a responsible partner, both in security and economic domain. In the larger Indo-Pacific strategy, Quad is a very meaningful component, since it covers the entire Indian and Pacific Oceans,” said Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha (Retd), military analyst.