India, Australia, US and Japan hold first 'quadrilateral' meeting

India, Australia, US and Japan hold first 'quadrilateral' meeting

India, Australia, US and Japan hold first 'quadrilateral' meeting

The US State Department stated that the officials had "examined ways to achieve common goals and address common challenges in the region, such as: upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific, including freedom of navigation and overflight, respect for global law, and the peaceful resolution of disputes".

India, Australia and Japan also issued separate statements listing the Indo-Pacific as the major area of the deliberations and resolved to expand cooperation to uphold a rules-based order and respect for worldwide law in the strategically important region.

Separately, Trump had a joint meeting with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan to discuss "a free and open Indo-Pacific region". "And, we certainly have never snatched anything from anybody in the past", said Prime Minister Modi, speaking in Hindi to a gathering of non-resident Indians living in Philippines.

The two leaders discussed the comprehensive strategic partnership between the United States and India and their shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region, the White House said in a statement.

"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". "I will also have interactions with other Asean and East Asia Summit leaders". "The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity", said an external affairs ministry spokesperson about the quadrilateral meet yesterday.

New Delhi, however, dropped the call for "rules-based order" in Indo-Pacific and the "respect for worldwide law" in its press-release issued after the first quad meeting on Sunday. "This includes upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and respect for worldwide law, freedom of navigation and overflight, increase connectivity", it said.

Trump was on the final stop of his five-nation trip to Asia where he sought the region's backing to pressure North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

It said the four countries committed to continuing the quadrilateral discussions and deepening cooperation on the basis of shared values and principles.

Mr. Modi's comment sets the backdrop of the quadrilateral dialogue that is being interpreted as a move to counter China's growing might, though Indian officials have strongly stated that they do not wish to target any country through this mechanism.

It followed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's declaration that India would have an important strategic role as one of the democratic anchors of security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region that would also embrace Japan and Australia.

Later today, PM Modi is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with Trump, in what will be their second face-to-face interaction since the PM visited the U.S. in August. At first glance, that would appear to resemble Trump's consistent pushes for US arms sales - a feature of his bilateral official meetings in Japan, South Korea, and even Vietnam during this trip.

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