Despite India moving ahead to strengthen ties with China, New Delhi's participation in Thursday’s meeting is being seen as significant.
New Delhi: In an important development widely seen as a consultative mechanism for the proposed “Quadrilateral”, officials of India, the US, Australia and Japan met in Singapore on Thursday and “reaffirmed their support for a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific Region” while also “confirming their common commitment, based on shared values and principles, to promote a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific”. The references to an “inclusive” Indo-Pacific and a “rules-based order” are being seen as a clear signal to a militarily assertive China.
The meeting on Thursday was attended by officials of the rank of Joint Secretary of the four countries. Issues of connectivity, regional security including counter-terrorism and non-proliferation as well as maritime cooperation and common interest in the Indo-Pacific region were discussed, the ministry of external affairs said.
The talks have been widely seen by observers as a consultative mechanism for the proposed “Quadrilateral” of the four countries which in turn has been viewed by foreign policy experts as an attempt to rein in China which has been asserting its might militarily and economically in its neighbourhood. Despite India moving ahead to strengthen ties with China, New Delhi's participation in Thursday’s meeting is being seen as significant.
In a statement, MEA said that the four nations discussed the “issues of common interest in the Indo-Pacific region.”