Amid muscle-flexing by China on maritime issues, India, Japan, the United States and Australia on Friday held their fourth quadrilateral meet at which they reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on shared values and principles.
The meeting, held in Bangkok, was attended by senior officials from the four countries.
The External Affairs Ministry said the officials discussed cooperation in the areas of connectivity and infrastructure development; regional security, including counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; maritime cooperation; and cybersecurity issues, with a view to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
The participants reiterated their strong support for ASEAN-centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms in the regional architecture for the Indo-Pacific and in this regard welcomed the initiative of ASEAN towards a common vision for the region.
The first quadrilateral meeting of the four countries was held in the Philippines on the margins of the ASEAN Summit in 2017 and the next two meetings took place in Singapore.
Even though the four countries have repeatedly emphasised that they have not formed an alliance, China sees it as a grouping formed to contain its growing influence in the region.