NEW DELHI: Foreign ministers from four Indo-Pacific nations – India, US, Japan and Australia – known as the “Quad group” are gathering in Tokyo on Tuesday for talks aimed at countering China’s growing assertiveness in the region.
While China-containment is expected to be the dominant theme of this year’s Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, the nations will also look at formalising the quad, a la Nato or the EU.
All four Quad members have an ongoing tiff with China.
Tensions between the US and China have escalated over issues like the coronavirus, trade, technology, Hong Kong, Taiwan and human rights.
India and China are locked in a tense military stand-off in eastern Ladakh without any signs of easing despite several rounds of talks. Relations between Australia and China have also deteriorated in recent months.
Japan, meanwhile, is concerned about China’s claim to the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, called Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea. Japan also considers China’s growing military activity to be a security threat.
The meeting of the four nations is also likely to take up cooperation in 5G and 5G plus technologies — given the Chinese dominance in the segment.
The US has made it clear that the focus will be on China as its “tactics, aggression, and coercion increase in the region”.
The China-focus was underlined by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo as he accused Beijing of “threatening the world’s economy and jeopardizing the global environment”.
Meanwhile, Canada may also be looking to become a part of the Quad “to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region”.
Canada, which has increased its interaction with India in recent months, also sent a warship on Saturday through the Strait of Taiwan, from the South China Sea (SCS) — a move intended to send a clear message to Beijing which claims territorial rights over both Taiwan and the SCS.