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Foreign ministers from US, India, Japan and Australia upgrade Quad talks

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Foreign ministers from US, India, Japan and Australia upgrade Quad talks

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Photo: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty

The foreign ministers of Australia, India, Japan and the US will meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly today under the banner of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

The “Quad” is ostensibly a means for the four countries to expand cooperation on a variety of levels, including on strategic matters. China sees the Quad as a means of containing its growing influence.

The idea was shelved for ten years before being revived in 2017. However, talks have only been conducted at the working level until now, due to anxiety from India that high-level talks like today’s might upset China.

Beijing’s growing economic influence in the region, persistent aggression in the South China Sea and increasing presence in the Indian Ocean are the primary motivators for the Quad being escalated to ministerial-level talks. Still, rather than result in any immediate step up in coordination among the group, today’s talks will serve as a warning to Beijing that increased aggression in the region will not go unchecked.

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Whether cooperation among the Quad escalates further—likely through leadership level meetings, military exercises and intelligence sharing—will depend on China’s actions in the region. As India remains the major holdout, Chinese military expansion in the Indian Ocean may prove to be the tipping point for increased cooperation among the participating countries.

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