Tuning on grounds of mutual interest: India, Australia, Japan and US discuss ideas on increasing connectivity on Indo-Pacific region
Source :NewsBharati Date :16-Nov-2018
Singapore, November 16: With countries coming close and discussing issues of mutual interest in the 13th ASEAN Summit, India, Australia, Japan and the United States on Thursday held consultations on regional and global issues of common interest, amid China flexing its muscles in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.
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.
The countries reaffirmed the ASEAN centrality as the cornerstone of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. The US has been pushing for a broader role by India in the strategically important Indo-Pacific region. India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's rising military maneuvering in the region. In November last year, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending Quadrilateral coalition to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of Chinese influence.
China claims almost all of the resource-rich South China Sea and has also laid claims on the Senkaku islands under the control of Japan in the East China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the South China Sea. The US is periodically deploying its naval ships and fighter planes to assert freedom of navigation. The US officials underscored the importance of coordinated and complementary engagement to advance shared regional interests including support for the new Maldivian government and encouragement of an outcome to political developments in Sri Lanka consistent with democratic principles. The Ministry of External Affairs stated that all the four countries 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 region that fosters trust and confidence. 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.