SOURCE: Tribune News Service

Ahead of a possible meeting of Foreign Ministers from India, the US, Japan and Australia towards the end of the year, senior diplomats from these countries held a video-conference on Friday for consultations on regional and global issues of common interest.

Widely seen as a grouping aiming to contain China, the Quad had last met at the official level in November 2019 and at the ministerial level in September 2019.

Taking up the threads from those interactions, the officials exchanged views on ongoing and proposed practical cooperation in the areas of connectivity and infrastructure development, and security matters, including counter-terrorism, cyber and maritime security. It noted the objective is to promote peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region — an area where China has started to become more active.

In the context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the officials underscored the importance of enhancing the resilience of supply chains and sharing best practices on how to combat the pandemic, said a MEA statement.

The officials reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on shared values and principles and respect for international law.

The officials reiterated their support for ASEAN-Centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms, particularly the leaders-led East Asia Summit, in the regional architecture for the Indo-Pacific, and their readiness to work with ASEAN and all other countries towards realising a common and promising vision for the Indo-Pacific.

They appreciated the Vietnamese chairmanship of the ASEAN and looked forward to the 15th East Asia Summit in November this year.