The United States announced that it will hold talks with Australia, India and Japan, in a dialogue that the US President, Joe Biden, seeks to renew the so-called “quadruple” alliance (Quad) with these countries.
The US State Department said that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will hold a virtual meeting with the foreign ministers of the three countries, today, Thursday, and the agenda includes discussing the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.
“These talks between the Quartet foreign ministers are essential to advance our common goals for a free and open region in the Indian and Pacific oceans, and rise to the challenges of our time,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
The “Quadruple Security Dialogue” was launched in 2007, and the idea goes back to former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is considered a hawk and was eager to find partners in order to strike a balance with a strongly rising China.
The Quad countries conducted four naval exercises in November in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, in which Australia participated for the first time in more than a decade.
The Chinese official “Global Times” newspaper had warned Biden earlier this month that the renewal of the quadripartite alliance would be “a fatal strategic mistake” and could lead to a “dangerous strategic confrontation” with Beijing.
An expert’s comment in the newspaper’s report bore a special warning to India, which has the ability to end the “Quad” formula, according to the analyst, with advice that “India does not fully link itself to the anti-China vehicle of the United States.”
India has historically insisted on non-alignment in its foreign policy, but tensions have escalated since last year, when military confrontations with China in the Himalayas killed at least 20 Indian soldiers, in addition to an unknown number of Chinese soldiers.
What sparked speculation about the future of the Quartet was India’s failure to include this term in its statement about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first call with Biden, as the matter was limited to the importance of “working with like-minded countries.”