New Delhi/ Washington – On Friday, the two plus two meeting took place between India and the US, as tensions with China remain high. As per reports, bilateral security and defence cooperation, developments in the Indo-Pacific region and further expedition of QUAD were the topics discussed. A few days ago, news reports stated that the talks were ongoing for including France in the QUAD. Therefore, the prioritisation of QUAD, along with the Indo-Pacific movements, becomes significant.
Last month, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien had indicated that the United States was going to play an active role to provide impetus to QUAD. O’Brien and US State Secretary, Mike Pompeo will hold discussions with the representatives of the QUAD member countries. Moreover, the US wants India to contribute further to the group that was formed to counter Chinese activities in the Indo-Pacific region. Thus, the US has persistently been focusing on discussing QUAD in various meetings with India. The focus on QUAD in the Friday meeting is said to be part of the same plan.
On Friday, Vani Rao, a senior official of the Indian Foreign Service, and Somnath Ghosh, a senior official at the Department of Defense, participated in a virtual meeting. On behalf of the US State Department, Dean Thompson from the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs and David Helvey from Indo-Pacific Security Affairs were present in the meeting. In December 2019, the India-US two plus two meeting was held at the ministerial level. Points discussed at the meeting were reviewed on their progress during the statement made by the Department of State. The information also had a mention of the ‘US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership’ and stated that both nations are working closely.
The US State Department has acknowledged India as a ‘Major Defense Partner’ in its statement. At the same time, it also mentioned the activities creating unrest in South Asia and the action taken in its retaliation without direct mention of China. Moreover, the State Department also said that it had discussed Coronavirus, the campaign against terrorism and other issues with India.
In 2007, the first informal meeting Japan initiated comprising of four nations was recognised as the QUAD. The heads of QUAD member nations held a session based on the ASEAN dialogue in 2017. In the meeting, the countries agreed to activate QUAD to counter the rising Chinese activities in the South China Sea. Following that, over the past three years, QUAD is fast becoming the prime group acting against China and the frequent meetings among the member nations only corroborate it.