‘Quad’ Foreign ministers to meet in Tokyo, countering China’s growing aggression on agenda

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Updated: Sep 29, 2020 7:15 PM

On Tuesday (Sept 29, 2020) both India and Japanese Navies bid farewell to each other at the end of ‘Japan-India Maritime Exercise’ or JIMEX. The exercise according to the Indian Navy spokesperson was held in the North Arabian Sea.

The meeting of the Foreign ministers of the Quad was scheduled to take place in India but had to be postponed due to the global pandemic of COVID-19.

With tensions mounting along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, with China, the External affairs minister S Jaishankar is heading towards Japan next week to take part in an informal meeting of the Quad Security Dialogue. It is a multilateral grouping which has India, US, Japan & Australia.

The visit to Tokyo from Oct 6-7 and the meeting of the Quad is important as the tensions between India and China have been going on for a few months now and the Chinese Navy has become more aggressive in the South China Sea and has been spotted by the Indian Navy in the IOR.

Leaders of India & Japan talk

The visit is the outcome of a telephone call between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the new Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. According to the MEA the two leaders in their telephone call had talked about further strengthening the strategic relations between the two countries.

While the two leaders decided to stand up against China, the same day the Japanese leader had a phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

More about the Quad meeting

The meeting of the Foreign ministers of the Quad was scheduled to take place in India but had to be postponed due to the global pandemic of COVID-19.

Bearing in mind the growing aggression of China in South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific Region, the former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe had proposed an informal meeting of the `like-minded democracies’.

Who will be present during the meeting?

There will be — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Motegi Toshimitsu; Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Indian minister S Jaishankar. They will all meet in Tokyo.

Topping the agenda according to the statement issued released by the MEA “The Post COVID-19 International Order and to discuss the need for a coordinated response to the various challenges emerging from the pandemic,”

Also, the foreign ministers will discuss “the maintenance of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.”

There will be bilateral meetings planned between Jaishankar and the other ministers.

In order to bypass China, India, Japan and Australia are also planning to have a `minilateral’ within the Indo-Pacific construct. This will help in creating a parallel supply chain network with trade and investment linkages.

India and Japan JIMEX which concluded today

On Tuesday (Sept 29, 2020) both India and Japanese Navies bid farewell to each other at the end of ‘Japan-India Maritime Exercise’ or JIMEX. The exercise according to the Indian Navy spokesperson was held in the North Arabian Sea.

The focus was on anti-air and anti-submarine warfare exercises.

Expert’s view on the meeting of the `Quad’ Foreign ministers

Prof Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU, says, “The second ministerial meeting of the Quad is taking place at a time when China is in a standoff with India at the Ladakh border, and tension between the US is at an all-time high in the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait. One may like it or not, but the Quad is a geopolitical necessity for the four members in the Indo-Pacific region. None of the members of the Quad is in position to halt China without support from other countries.”

“China has not been sincere in following the arbitration of international organizations, nor is accommodative to the interests of other smaller countries in the region. Under these circumstances, it becomes difficult for other countries to operate in the region.

The members of the Quad feel threatened by China’s growing sense of entitlement and militarisation in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean Rim regions. The issue of free navigation is central to the agenda of the Quad,” Prof Rajan opines.

According to the JNU Professor, “India, Japan and the US have signed several logistic and information sharing agreements, and conduct joint military exercises called Malabar Exercises. Australia has resisted joining this exercise because of Chinese pressure. Australia’s economy is highly dependent on China and it is cautious in standing up against China. However, there are some signs that it may reconsider its policy and join this exercise in future.”

“The Quad has the potential to emerge as a formidable bloc of democracies against authoritarian China. However, it needs to expand its scope from narrow security issues to broader political and economic cooperation. The economies of the Quad are tied to the Chinese economy, and attempts to decouple them would entail significant economic and political cost.

The Quad also needs to create formalise its institutions for regular communication, and upscale its meetings to a Summit level,” Prof Rajan concludes.

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