India to join US, Japan, Australia to call for free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific

India will join the United States, Japan and Australia on October 6 to call for a “free, open and inclusive” Indo-Pacific, sending out a message to China.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will hold a meeting with United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Foreign Ministers of Japan and Australia, Toshimitsu Motegi and Maris Payne, during his visit to Tokyo on October 6 and 7. The meeting of the foreign ministers of the ‘Quad’ – a coalition of India, Japan, Australia and the US – was initially proposed to be held in New Delhi, but the venue has now been shifted to Tokyo.

The meeting of the Quad Foreign Ministers is being planned amid China’s growing belligerence, not only along its disputed boundary with India, but also in South China Sea, East China Sea and elsewhere in Indo-Pacific.

Beijing did take note of the latest move by the four nations to give a fillip to the Quad, which is largely seen as a US-led move to bring the democratic countries of the Indo-Pacific region together in order to build a bulwark against expansionist and hegemonic aspirations of China.

“We believe the world’s overriding trend is peace, development and win-win cooperation. Instead of forming exclusive cliques, multilateral and plurilateral cooperation should be open, inclusive and transparent,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chinese Government, said. “Instead of targeting at third parties or undermining third parties’ interests, cooperation should be conducive to mutual understanding and trust between regional countries.”

Jaishankar and his counterparts from the US, Japan and Australia will discuss the post-Covid-19 international order and the need for a coordinated response to the various challenges emerging from the pandemic, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi.

“They will also discuss regional issues and collectively affirm the importance of maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific,” said the MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava.

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