Ahead of India-US 2+ 2 dialogue, US pitches for ‘regularized’ Quad

Ahead of the 2+2 dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers of the US and India in New Delhi,US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun pitched for regularization of the Quad dialogue.

In an online interaction with journalists on October 20, Mr Biegun said that Quad should be “regularized” and in time “formalized” as members begin to understand the parameters of this cooperation. “It is our view that in the passage of time, Quad should become more regularized and at some point formalized as we begin to understand what the parameters of this cooperation are and how we can regularize it,” Mr Biegun said. He welcomed cooperation with any country committed to defend “free and open Indo-Pacific that guarantees sovereignty and prosperity for its members”.

Issues relating to the Quad will figure prominently in the 2+2 dialogue between India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with their US counterparts, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T. Espers. The 2+2 dialogue will be held in New Delhi on October 26-27.

In a measured response, China has said that it “noticed” the development and believes military cooperation between countries “should be conducive to regional peace and stability” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, “We noticed this development. China believes that military cooperation between countries should be conducive to regional peace and stability.”

Responding to media queries in Tokyo, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that “If this is to be realized, it would be welcomed by the Japanese government.”

Welcoming the decision on Twitter, the US Navy’s Chief of Information tweeted “Seapower x 4” with the flags of India, the US, Japan, and Australia. The US Navy’s Pacific Fleet, part of the US Indo-Pacific Command, tweeted, “Looking forward to exercise #Malabar in November.”

Amid the tensions at the India-China border and South China Sea, New Delhi has announced that Australia will be part of the Malabar Exercise in November, making it the first military exercise between all countries that make the Quadrilateral grouping, known as Quad.

Announcing the decision, India’s Defense Ministry said: “As India seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain and in the light of increased defense cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy.

This year, the exercise has been planned on a ‘non-contact-at sea’ format. The exercise will strengthen the coordination between the Navies of the participating countries.

“The participants…are engaging to enhance safety and security in the maritime domain. They collectively support free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and remain committed to a rules-based international order.”

Australia has accepted the invitation for participation in Malabar 2020. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said, “Following an invitation from India, Australia will participate in Exercise Malabar 2020. The exercise will bring together four key regional defense partners: India, the United States, Japan, and Australia in November 2020.”



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