India, Japan, U.S., Australia hold first ‘Quad’ talks at Manila ahead of ASEAN Summit

11/12/2017

MANILA, PHILIPPINES, Nov. 12: India on Sunday held the first official-level discussion under the newly boosted regional coalition known as the ‘Quad’, the quadrilateral formation including Japan, India, United States and Australia. A press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs stated that ‘open’ and inclusive regional vision and anti-terrorism cooperation were discussed at the quadrilateral where India elaborated on the concept of Indo-Pacific region.

“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 statement said.

The Indian team at the Quad consisted of the Indian Joint Secretary in-charge of East Asia, Pranay Verma and Joint Secretary in charge of South Vinay Kumar.

While traditionally the Asia Pacific region has been a US-centric concept, the Indo-Pacific region has been an India-centric concept that has found increased acceptance in the Indian policy panels in recent years. The meeting is significant as it highlights the first occasion when India enumerated upon its notion of the region where it expects to play a key role as part of the Quad.

“The discussions focused on cooperation based on their converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region that they share with each other and with other partners,” the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement issued on Sunday after the official-level meeting.

Before leaving for Manila, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the Indian concerns in the western Pacific region and said, “I will be travelling to Philippines on a 3-day visit, starting 12th November. I will take part in the ASEAN-India and East Asia summits, which symbolise India’s commitment towards deepening engagement with ASEAN and India-Pacific region.”

Mr. Modi highlighted India’s trade with the ASEAN region in particular and the Indo-Pacific/Asia Pacific region in general as a zone of greater economic convergence. THE HINDU

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