India, US, Japan, Australia Meet Together for First Time in Ten Years

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"They agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large", the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on the quadrilateral.

US President Donald Trump on Monday sought Southeast Asia's support for his Indo-Pacific Dream in the region, calling for trade arrangements based on "fairness and reciprocity".

Speaking at a gathering of CEOs on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the Vietnamese port city of Danang, Trump cited India as one of the countries in the Indo-Pacific region making strides.

In its statement, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said the officials discussed measures to ensure a free and open worldwide order based on the rule of law in the Indo- Pacific.

China on Monday said the US, Japan, India and Australia should not target Beijing, a day after the leaders of four nations met on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Manila and made a decision to work for a "free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region".

"The officials examined ways to achieve common goals and address shared challenges in the region". Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono last month had said that Tokyo favours the quadrilateral dialogue to further boost strategic partnership among the four countries.

The Japan foreign ministry's press note said that the officials "discussed measures to ensure a free and open worldwide order based on the rule of law in the Indo-Pacific".

The Indian team consisted of the Joint Secretary in charge of the East Asia division in the MEA, Pranay Verma, and the Joint Secretary in charge of the South division in the MEA, Vinay Kumar.

Both the Japanese and Australian press releases mentioned that discussions were on ensuring "rules based order" and "freedom of navigation".

"The relevant proposal should be open and inclusive and should be conducive to the win-win cooperation and avoid politicising or excluding some relevant parties", Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said.

Trump's short message at the start of a regional summit here reiterated Washington's blueprint for the Indo-Pacific area, which analysts believe is a strategy to contain China's growing influence. "We will not be able to compete with the kind of terms that China offers, but countries have to decide: What are they willing to pay to secure their sovereignty and their future control of their economies And we've had those discussions with them, as well", he said.

BEYOND HANDSHAKES: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday became the first Indian Prime Minister since Indira Gandhi to visit Manila, the capital of Philippines in 36 years. He is also scheduled to meet with Chinese premier Li Keqiang, which will be their first meeting since the Doklam stand-off came to an end.

Both Japan and Australia highlighted that all participants affirmed their commitment to "continuing discussions and deepening cooperation based on shared values and principles".