‘Strengthening Indo-Pacific’: EAM Jaishankar To Participate In Virtual Quad Ministerial Meeting TodayIndian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar [State Department photo by Freddie Everett/ Public Domain]

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar along with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other counterparts from Japan and Australia are set to hold another Quadrilateral Security Group (Quad) meeting on Thursday (18 February), reports India Today.

As per the report, in the virtual meet the leaders will discuss rising challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, climate change and other issues. This will be the third Quad meeting since the last one in Tokyo last October and the first one under the new Joe Biden administration that took office on 20 January.

The discussions between Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Foreign Ministers Marise Payne of Australia and Toshimitsu Motegi Japan "is critical to advancing our shared goals of free and open Indo-Pacific and rising to the defining challenges of our time", US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday.

US President Joe Biden’s new administration has shown eagerness to build on renewed attention to the grouping of the four major Indo-Pacific democracies. The national security adviser Jake Sullivan had earlier termed the Quad grouping as “a foundation upon which to build substantial American policy in the Indo-Pacific.”

Known officially as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, the Quad grouping first came into being in 2004 in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami. Thereafter though, the group's activities were revived in 2017 to move beyond the areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and to focus on advancing the efforts to ensure a "free, open and inclusive" Indo-Pacific.

It should be noted that the US' former Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had stated after the meeting of the foreign ministers of the grouping in bygone October to "institutionalise" the Quad. He had then stated that the grouping has the capacity to "push back against the Chinese Communist Party".

In their telephonic conversation recently, Japanese Prime Minister (PM) Yoshihide Suga and President Joseph Biden had also agreed to promote the grouping. However, it should be noted that India is yet to firm up its stance on the proposed meeting. Also, unlike Australia and Japan, India is not a treaty ally of the US.

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