The foreign ministers of the Quad countries are likely to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next month with a focus on expanding overall cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The Quad, comprising India, the US, Japan and Australia, has been focusing on practical cooperation to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s increasing military muscle-flexing in the region.

The Quad foreign ministers are expected to deliberate on ways to further boost cooperation in the Indo-Pacific under the framework of the coalition, the people cited above said.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi last held talks in India in March.

In the meeting, they reaffirmed the grouping’s commitment for a free and open Indo-Pacific and said it strongly supports the rule of law, sovereignty, territorial integrity and peaceful settlement of disputes.

The ministers also vowed to work closely to align and complement Quad’s agenda with Japan’s presidency of the G7, India’s presidency of the G20 and the United States’ APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) “host year” in 2023.