With the aim of countering China’s aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region, India, Australia, US and Japan; that comprise the proposed “quadrilateral” coalition held their first official talks in Manila, a day before the ASEAN Summit. According to The Indian Express, the four countries agreed upon a “free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large”.
As per PTI reports, the ministry of external affairs (MEA) said the consultations were held on issues of common interest in the Indo-Pacific region with a focus on cooperation based on converging vision and values for the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the area. “They agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large. The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity,” the MEA said. The MEA noted that the discussions focused on cooperation based on “converging vision and values for the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region that they share with each other and with other partners”. The Indian side “highlighted India’s Act East Policy as the cornerstone of its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region”, placing focus on the role of ASEAN and Southeast Asia as per IE. Sources said India’s statement sought to connect the clandestine links between North Korea and Pakistan in the development of their nuclear programmes.
Japan’s foreign ministry said that they discussed measures to ensure a “free and open international order based on the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific”. The Australian officials also pointed out that the countries have common goals which includes coordinate on efforts to address the challenges of countering terrorism and upholding maritime security in the Indo-Pacific.