South Asia and Beyond

Quad+, Indo-Pacific, Asean, China: From Jai To Ajai+

NEW DELHI: The second Quad (Japan, Australia, India, U.S.) Foreign Ministers meeting is in Tokyo on October 6. The analysts on ‘Talking Point’ this week are Tanvi Madan, Director of The India Project at the Brookings Institution and Cleo Paskal, Senior Fellow, focusing on the Indo-Pacific region, at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies (FDD). The discussion with StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi revolves around the signalling, significance and substance of a reborn Quad as a counter to an increasingly assertive China. They also examine the commonalities and differences the group has vis-a-vis China, how the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) is behaving individually and collectively, where the Quad fits in to India’s foreign strategies, if and when there will be a formal arrangement and what Beijing is doing to counter the alignment. The conversation also looks at other bilateral and trilateral initiatives including maritime interoperability exercises and economic supply chain resilience meetings as a measure of pushback against the Chinese leadership’s global ambitions and aggressiveness.

In Japan, India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar will also hold separate meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Toshimitsu Motegi and Marise Payne, his Japanese and Australian counterparts. “It is timely that foreign ministers of the four nations, who share the same ambitions over regional matters, exchange views over various challenges,” Motegi told the media while announcing the meeting. “They are expected to collectively affirm the importance of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific,” Anurag Srivastava, the Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson said on September 1. Last week, senior officials of the grouping also had an online discussion. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin reacted to the meeting’s announcement by telling a press conference, “multilateral and plurilateral cooperation should all be open, inclusive and transparent. No one should seek an exclusive clique.” The first Quad Foreign Ministerial meeting took place in New York in September 2019, on the margins of the General Assembly.

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