India, US, Japan, Australia discuss Indo-Pacific cooperation

Manila, Nov 12 (IANS) India, Australia, Japan and the US on Sunday agreed that “a free, open, prosperous and inclusive” Indo-Pacific served long-term global interests, giving an impetus to an emerging quad of democracies amid Chinas growing military and economic power.

An External Affairs Ministry statement said foreign officials from India, Australia, Japan and the US met here and held consultations “on issues of common interest in the Indo-Pacific region”.

“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 statement said.

The countries “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”, said the statement.

The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity.

Indian officials highlighted India’s Act East Policy as the cornerstone of its engagement in the region.

The four countries are working to revive their quadrilateral dialogue. Another meeting of the officials from the countries is likely to take place on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Manila on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday morning arrived here to attend the summit.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in October said Tokyo favoured a dialogue between Japan, the US, India and Australia to boost strategic partnership among them in the region amid growing Chinese assertiveness over the South China Sea.

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