Quad foreign ministers to meet next month, China tops agenda


With focus on China’s growing aggressive activities, a meeting of foreign ministers of the ‘Quad’ (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) countries is now set to be held in Tokyo in October. The meeting’s venue has been changed from New Delhi to Tokyo.

Sources said External Af- fairs Minister S. Jaishankar has spoken to his Japanese counterpart about this meeting and after this talk the venue has been shifted from New Delhi to Tokyo. A suitable date is being fixed for the interactions. Sources said that the Ministry of External Affairs is keen that the meeting should be physical instead of virtual.

The foreign ministers of the four ‘Quad’ countries — US, Australia, India and Japan — will take a detailed and comprehensive view of China’s expansionist behaviour apart from other issues of shared interests, sources said. The date of meeting is likely to be 8 October, sources told The Daily Guardian. However, the US Department of State is yet to confirm the date.

The meeting of Quad na- tions’ foreign ministers is taking place in Japan after Yoshihide Suga took over as new Prime Minister of the country. Shinzo Abe had resigned from the post last month. Sources said that the Indian ambassador in Japan has already met PM Suga. Japan under the new leadership is said to have ex- pressed its keenness to stand firm against China. “China’s activities in Indo-Pacific region are the key focus for the Japanese dispensation,” says an official.

This will be the second ministerial meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. According to an official, “China’s aggressive actions across the Indo-Pacific will be discussed by all the four foreign ministers.”

All the four members of the Quad have serious differences with China. India is engaged in a border standoff with China’s PLA troops in Ladakh.

Similarly, Australia wants to halt projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Japan is extremely angry over Chinese intrusions near the Senkaku Islands. The US has multiple problems with China on strategic, economic and diplomatic fronts.

Sources said that ahead of the upcoming Quad discussions, Jaishankar will have a strategic session with top officials of the MEA and the Defence Ministry. The Foreign Secretary and the Defence Secretary will also be in that session. Sources told that a strategy on the issues related to Chinese aggressive activities will be given a final shape so that it could be taken up during the Quad discussions. Jaishankar may have a telephonic talk with his US counterpart, Mike Pompeo, before the Quad meeting, sources added.