The senior officials also 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, with the objective of promoting peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” stated a release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.
The consultation precedes the upcoming QUAD meeting slated to be held later this year. The last Ministerial engagement was held in September 2019.
During a media briefing last week, DD News had asked the MEA whether India will be hosting a quad meeting. To which, the MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said, “We look forward to holding the quad meeting later this year and as of now details are being worked out.”
Earlier this month US State Deputy secretary Stephen Biegun had remarked that intentions are to have an in-person, ministerial level meeting of Quad in Delhi this fall. He had also remarked that with Quad, India could become a part of the larger Indo-Pacific Theater. “It’s also obviously indeed in our interest to have India as a partner in these issues,” Biegun had said.
Senior officials from the Ministry of External Affairs of India, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade of Australia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Department of State of the United States of America were part of today’s discussion.
In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, the officials underscored the importance of enhancing the resilience of supply chains and sharing best practices on how to combat the pandemic.
The officials reiterated their firm 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 realizing a common and promising vision for the Indo-Pacific.
The officials also 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 last such official level discussions had happened in November 2019.
Report by Abhishek Jha