SINGAPORE/ NEW DELHI: Officials from Australia, India, Japan and the US, collectively known as the Quad, met on November 15 to consult on regional and global issues of common interest, including the situation in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
The Quad, revived as a group last year, discussed how - in their third meeting on the sidelines of this year's East Asia Summit - to work for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, among other crucial issues.
"The discussions focused on cooperation in areas such as connectivity, sustainable development, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and maritime and cyber security, with a view to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected Indo-Pacific region that the four countries share with each other and with other partners," a statement issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said.
Each of the four countries issued statements after the talks, broadly reflecting the Indian statement, particularly reaffirming the centrality of the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional bloc as the cornerstone of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
The Quad "agreed to partner with other countries and forums in the region to promote a free, open, rules-based and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific that fosters trust and confidence," the MEA statement said.
"They committed to strengthening connectivity and quality infrastructure based on sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of all nations, as well as transparency, economic viability and financial responsibility," it said.
These meetings assume significance because of China's growing influence in the Indo-Pacific and its belligerence in the South China Sea region.