India commits to Quad vision for free open Indo-Pacific

Amidst the Chinese aggression, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar at the 'Quad' consultations in Tokyo
India commits to Quad vision for free open Indo-Pacific

NEW DELHI/TOKYO: Amidst the Chinese aggression, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar at the 'Quad' consultations in Tokyo on Tuesday reiterated that India was committed to the shared vision of the US, Japan and Australia for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

The Foreign Ministerial-level meeting of the Quad, an informal strategic group of the four countries is being held at Tokyo, in the wake of the growing belligerence shown by China since the beginning of this year. The meeting is being attended by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and S. Jaishankar.

In his opening remarks, Jaishankar said, "As vibrant and pluralistic democracies with shared values, our nations have collectively affirmed the importance of maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific."

He said India remains "committed to upholding the rules-based international order, underpinned by the rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation in the international seas, respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty and peaceful resolution of disputes."

India's objective, he said, "remains advancing the security and the economic interests of all countries having legitimate and vital interests in the region."

He expressed satisfaction that the "Indo-Pacific concept has gained increasingly wider acceptance" while recalling the Indo-Pacific Ocean's Initiative that India tabled at the East Asia Summit last year. This, he said, "is a development with considerable promise in that context."

This is the second Australia-India-Japan-United States consultations on regional and global issues of common interest. "The fact that we are meeting here today, in person, despite the global coronavirus pandemic, is a testimony to the importance that these consultations have gained, particularly in recent times," Jaishankar said.

The events of this year, he said, have clearly demonstrated how imperative it is for like-minded countries to coordinate responses to the various challenges that the pandemic has brought to the fore. "As we collectively navigate these uncharted waters, we seek to emerge from the pandemic more resilient than ever before," the Minister said.

The Quad discussions will be held on important issues such as connectivity and infrastructure development, security including counter-terrorism; cyber and maritime security; and the stability and prosperity in the region, an official statement of the Ministry of External Affairs said.

Jaishankar, who is on a two-day visit to Tokyo, also called on the newly-appointed Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga, before the Quad meeting began. (IANS)

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