The Quad (US, Japan, India, Australia Security Dialogue) : Updates and Discussions

Ashwin

Agent_47
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Administrator
Nov 30, 2017
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Deeping strategic waterways throughout the Indo-Pacific region “free and open”—a key Trump administration objective—is getting harder. China continues to militarize the South China Sea and bully neighbors that have competing maritime claims. Successive U.S. administrations have tried to use regional forums, especially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to push back against Beijing’s excesses, largely without success.

The Trump administration’s resurrection of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue offers some hope. Known as “the Quad,” it is an informal dialogue among four democratic countries—the United States, Australia, Japan, and India—that quietly coordinate security policy and military activities with China in mind. The Quad fell apart in 2008, however, because of shifting domestic politics in Japan and cold feet among the other three. Even in its revised form, though, if steps aren’t taken to broaden the group, it’s in danger of failing to achieve its core mission.

The revived Quad has held just two meetings since Trump’s Asia visit last November and has yet to hold any joint freedom of navigation operations or joint exercises—justifiably fueling skepticism the group will once again collapse. This time, India has the most reservations about participating in an overt coordination mechanism to balance against China.

One way the Quad might consider getting its house in order is to extend dialogue partnerships, or plus-ones, to ASEAN maritime counterclaimant states. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has notedthat the Indo-Pacific should not be run by “a club of limited members.” ASEAN states, however, have long preferred to remain nonaligned in order to avoid involvement in any potential conflict between the United States and China, so they would not be interested in becoming full-fledged Quad members. But if the Quad could receive an endorsement from these regional residents, and further engage with them in Track 1.5 discussions, which mix government representatives and think tank experts, on security issues of mutual concern, it could go a long way toward making Quad members feel more confident about the legitimacy of their activities.

Without at least one ASEAN participant, the Quad comes across as a vehicle through which major powers are pursuing great power rivalry against China rather than a collective rebuke of Beijing’s attempts to overturn the liberal international order. A lack of buy-in from ASEAN stakeholders makes it easier for Beijing to dismiss the group as nothing more than the latest attempts by the West to contain China. The Quad should seek to broaden its network of defense partners, and just such an opportunity is emerging in the region.

Vietnam is a prime example of a regional ASEAN maritime state that is striving to bolster its defense relationships with the four Quad countries so as to balance against China in the South China Sea. Since Trump’s Asia visit last November, Vietnamese leaders have unambiguously signaled their agreement with Washington’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy” to prevent Beijing from further changing the status quo in disputed areas such as the Paracel and Spratly islands. While visiting India in March, Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, who died last month, issued a joint statement with Modi indicating their intent to uphold freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea as well as peaceful and legal settlement of disputes. Hanoi further pledged to work with India to ensure “a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.”

In mid-September, Hanoi followed up on deepening maritime cooperation with Tokyo by allowing a Japanese submarine to make its first port call in Vietnam. Then, Vietnam made a return frigate visit to Japan in a sign of strengthening defense ties. In March, Vietnam welcomed the first U.S. aircraft carrier to its shores since the end of the Vietnam War. More recently, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis canceleda visit to China and this week instead traveled to Vietnam to bolster defense relations. Vietnam has also elevated its ties with Australia to a “strategic partnership,” and it has forged extremely deep defense links with India—so much so that India now surpasses Russia as Hanoi’s “most reliable defense partner,” according to one local expert. These moves represent a remarkable departure from Vietnam’s traditionally low-profile approach.

Jakarta is also pushing back as Beijing’s expansive patrols in the South China Sea have recently challenged Indonesian sovereignty in the disputed Natunas. In late August, Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu met with Mattis at the Pentagon and affirmed the importance of keeping the Indo-Pacific free and open. Jakarta has signaled that it would engage with the Quad only if other ASEAN countries do the same. At the least, however, Indonesia appears increasingly inclined to balance China’s excesses in the South China Sea.

Until recently, the Philippines appeared irretrievably lost as an ally after the 2016 election of President Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte immediately inflamed the U.S.-Philippines alliance by traveling to China and declaring that “America has lost now.” Duterte has also declined to enforce a Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling in Manila’s favor over Beijing in the South China Sea.

Even so, the Filipino defense establishment has quietly favored bolstering the U.S. alliance. This is because Filipinos are skeptical that Duterte’s China-friendly policy is working, amid ongoing tensions over fishing rights in the disputed Scarborough Shoal. Although Beijing has pledged to share its resources, Filipino fishermen must still request permissionfrom the Chinese coast guard to enter the Scarborough Shoal lagoon. Philippines Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano saidin May that Duterte would “go to war” over natural resources in the region—a sign that Manila may be reconsidering its policy of engaging Beijing. Despite his heated rhetoric, Duterte in recent months has been receptive to recent U.S. efforts to repair defense relations

Malaysia has mostly maintained a low profile in its maritime disputes with China. This may change, though, after the surprise election of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in May. Mahathir and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently agreed“to contribute to realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific that is based on the rule of law.” Mahathir also pledged to “keep the Strait of Melaka [Malacca] and the South China Sea for navigation for all countries.” The Malaysian defense minister recently traveled to Japan to discuss freedom of navigation and international law.

Even though Kuala Lumpur under Mahathir remains hesitant to depart from its traditional nonaligned foreign policy, relations with Beijing have cooled. Over the last several months, Mahathir has reconsidered and canceled deals struck by his predecessor, the generally pro-China Najib Razak, as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. Will Mahathir rebalance in Washington’s favor?

Still other diplomatic pronouncements and defense deals suggest that China’s neighbors are moving closer to Quad views.In early September, Indonesian and Australian leaders—without specifically naming China—highlighted the importance of maintaining a “rules-based regional architecture.” Indonesia and India also struck a deal to develop Indonesia’s strategic Sabang port, on the tip of Sumatra, presumably to counter Chinese port access deals in the region. And India, Australia, and Indonesia have established a new trilateral security dialogue.

Beyond the moves by these governments to strengthen defense ties to Quad members, their people apparently regard China’s rising regional influence as less preferable to sustaining U.S. security alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific. According to a new Pew poll, 43 percent of Indonesians and 77 percent of Filipinos prefer U.S. leadership, compared with only 22 percent of Indonesians and 12 percent of Filipinos being comfortable with China achieving preeminent regional status. This suggests that ASEAN governments may have to act even more deliberately to counter Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea.

Eventually, one or more of the ASEAN maritime states may publicly align with the Quad, lending it more credibility and making it more difficult for China to ignore. Such an outcome would also stiffen the resolve of Quad members to remain in the group and take greater risks in balancing China, like engaging in joint freedom of navigation operations, exercises, and other military activities.

At the moment, Vietnam appears to be the most likely candidate, given its rising concerns over Chinese behavior in the South China Sea and deepening defense relations with all four Quad members. But other Southeast Asian nations might later be courted and won over. The Quad’s success likely depends on it.

The Quad Is Not Enough

@China_SCS_Info
 
Oct 21, 2018
6
5
Da Nang, Vietnam
Absolutely, Vietnam is a must since they are in the front lines facing China and its the one that gives China the most opposition, but it can only do so much by itself. Indonesia would be nice, but their emphasis is to stay neutral, so its unlikely unless they get seriously threatened by China.. We'll have to see how this plays out.
 

BMD

Senior member
Dec 4, 2017
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There was a once great maritime power who could help. All you have to do is look in the mirror and say 'Candyman' 3 times.
 

_Anonymous_

Senior Member
Dec 4, 2017
12,638
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Mumbai
There was a once great maritime power who could help. All you have to do is look in the mirror and say 'Candyman' 3 times.
I doubt France would be interested.Besides, India has her own terms of engagement with France and both have the same views as far as freedom on navigation in the SCS goes.
 

RISING SUN

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Dec 3, 2017
6,154
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NIA to host first counter-terrorism cooperation exercise for 'Quad' countries
The National Investigation Agency is hosting the first counter-terrorism exercise for the "Quad" countries -- India, the US, Japan and Australia -- at the NIA headquarters in Delhi on November 21 and 22, officials said on Tuesday.

The 'CT-TTX' (counter-terrorism table-top exercise) is first such engagement among the Quad countries on regional and global issues of common interest and also in the domain of counter-terrorism and cooperation, the NIA officials said.

It is being conducted as the partner countries have resolved to take the international counter-terror offensive, preparedness, mitigation and synergy to the next level and therefore the table-top exercise would be attended by CT (counter-terrorism) officials and security experts of the Quad countries, they said.

According to the NIA, the purpose of the exercise is to assess and validate CT response mechanisms in the light of emerging terrorist threats as well as to provide opportunities to share best practices and to explore areas for enhanced cooperation amongst participating countries.

The exercise is aimed to enable the participating countries to understand much better the response systems to terror incidents that exist in other member countries. This will help in recognition of the best practices prevalent in respective countries. The table-top exercise also aims to further improve the interagency cooperation between different CT and other agencies of Quad countries.

The dialogue between the Quad countries was initiated in 2007 and with renewed negotiations from 2017 onwards, the first ministerial-level dialogue among the members was held in September this year on the sidelines of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), according to the NIA officials.

The officials elaborated that the foundation of the Quad is based on collective effort and shared commitment on counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security cooperation, development finance, and cyber security among the four democratic nations.
NIA to host first counter-terrorism cooperation exercise for 'Quad' countries
 

RISING SUN

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Readout of U.S.-Australia-India-Japan Ministerial (“The Quad”)
NEW YORK FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, 799 UNITED NATIONS PLAZA, 10TH FLOOR
MODERATOR: Okay, thanks everyone for coming. We have today [Senior State Department Official One] and [Senior State Department Official Two]. This briefing will be on background, so it’s slightly different from the normal briefings that we’ve held here. You should use for attribution that a Senior State Department official has made whatever comment. We will provide a transcription afterward to all the people who attended. And with that, I turn the floor over to our briefers.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Good afternoon. I’m going to read you the first part of this, and then Senior Bureau Official Number Two will follow up, and then we’d be happy to answer your questions.
So happy to be here with you all and with my colleague here. Just a few things to offer. Today’s meeting was a historic first for our countries and a continued deepening of our cooperation to advance openness and economic prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. Secretary Pompeo and the foreign ministers of Australia, India, and Japan met to discuss collective efforts and our shared commitment to close cooperation on counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security cooperation, development finance, and cyber security efforts. These consultations provide a valuable opportunity to coordinate our efforts to further our shared visions for the Indo-Pacific region. I’ll just, as a side note, note this is my first event of its kind and this is many more for her even though she looks much younger than I do.
From the outset, the partnership between our countries has been defined by our shared democratic values and an enormous generosity of spirit. This Quad grouping originated in our four countries’ spontaneous humanitarian efforts after the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004 that devastated parts of the Indian Ocean region. Since November 2017, our senior officials have met four times to discuss ways in which we can deepen cooperation, and today we can be proud of concrete work together in areas from counterterrorism cooperation to cyber security and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Ambassadors and other senior officials from our embassies have also met in several countries throughout the Indo-Pacific region to discuss ways to deepen cooperation among ourselves and with our partners. We are pleased at the progress the Quad has made in the past two years all in support of our complimentary visions for a free and open Indo-Pacific. Today, the four countries also reaffirmed their support for ASEAN centrality in the Indo-Pacific.
The U.S. looks forward to another Quad senior officials meeting on the sidelines of the November 2019 East Asia Summit in Bangkok. We are very much looking forward to future productive discussions that will serve as a jumping-off point for even deeper cooperation in areas of mutual interest to our four countries and to our friends and partners in ASEAN and beyond.
Thank you, and now I’ll turn over the microphone to my colleague, SBO Two.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Yeah, let me just add a little bit. It’s been very satisfying to help stand up the Quad mechanism under the Trump administration, and today’s meeting really is a very important elevation to the ministerial level. We’ve met four times in the past at my level. I’ve had the privilege of being involved since the beginning, which was no small feat. There were a lot of logistics involved in getting the four countries together. But today’s event, hosted by Secretary Pompeo, was a significant elevation of the level of the dialogue, and it certainly demonstrates a shared commitment of our respective leadership to institutionalize this gathering of likeminded Indo-Pacific partners.
I think [Senior State Department Official One] summed up the goals of the Quad and the themes of today’s ministerial well, but what I would say is that the discussions really reflected shared values. It was a very forward leaning and ambitious conversation. If I could single out India’s role in the Quad, I think it highlights India’s leadership in the Indo-Pacific region; it’s one of the many ways that the U.S. and India are now cooperating closely on shared strategic objectives as highlighted during President Trump’s meeting with Prime Minister Modi earlier this week; the 2+2 structure that we’ve set up, and the deepening of our defense partnership, and trilateral relations with Japan as seen in the Malabar exercise that’s ongoing.
We really do welcome and support India’s emergence as a net security provider in the region and a global actor, and we regard India’s contributions as vital to the safeguarding of a rules-based system in the Indo-Pacific. It reflects a shared commitment to uphold the rule of law, counterterrorism cooperation, freedom of navigation, democratic values, and economic growth. And these are all values we want to advance across the region.
In addition to our continued work through the Quad, we are looking to expanding our cooperation with India through the bilateral mechanisms that I mentioned, but also in multilateral fora like those related to the ASEAN. And I want to reiterate David’s message that the U.S., India, and our other Quad partners are resolute in our view of ASEAN’s centrality in Southeast Asia, and we seek to complement ASEAN’s critical role in the region.
So let me stop there and we can take questions.
MODERATOR: And I’m sorry, for the questioners, please just identify yourself by name and outlet, thank you very much.
QUESTION: Sriram Lakshman from The Hindu. You said that – how would you characterize India’s leadership at this meeting relative to the history so far? Because there has been some hesitation from the Indian side thus far. What’s different from in the past and today?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Well, I think there’s recognition that in the past we didn’t have that similar likemindedness necessarily among the four partners, and over the past two years we’ve been able to demonstrate what’s changed. We have a shared evaluation of the security threats and the threats facing the region when countries don’t have options to develop in a sustainable and free manner, and that’s really brought our four nations together. Again, I would emphasize as one mechanism, one architecture that complements and supplements other formats that we are all engaged in to promote the free and open Indo-Pacific.
QUESTION: Seema Sirohi from The Economic Times. To press further on this, what’s changed? What’s new? So can we say that India, United States, Japan, Australia now agree on what is a threat, who is a threat, in the region? And on any mechanisms to counter it or – because last meetings here everybody gave different press statements. Some emphasized some things, another another. So I’m just trying to understand.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: No, I think there’s been unnecessary Kremlinology in trying to parse statements that are issued by the participating countries. I think what – it’s what unites all the statements. And that is the avowed expression of support for the values that undergird a free and open Indo-Pacific, and there we’re rock solid.
And it’s fascinating to see four countries. We each have different strengths and weaknesses. We each play different roles in different parts of the globe. But we have the same approach about what needs to animate diplomacy and economic development in the region, and those are standards and the principles of openness and the principles of democracy.
And I think one of the main lines of conversation was the need to continue to underscore the dangers that are posed by bad development, bad infrastructure investment, the risk that countries – the traps that countries fall into when there’s predatory lending, unsustainable debt being offered, or projects that don’t contribute to the economic well-being. And we’ve seen the examples, whether it’s Hambantota, whether it’s the Maldives, whether it’s the expressions of concern from Malaysia. There are individual projects throughout the world that we can point to that demonstrate the national security implications of not having the options that allow for the free and open development of our partner countries in the region.
QUESTION: My name is Yokobori from Yomiuri Shimbun. To follow up with what you’ve mentioned, I think we have one country in mind, and what kind of – what other discussions were held when it comes to China?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: The surest way to make sure that we don’t agree on these is to all pick one particular negative subject. And so if you go back to the origins of this formation, it was humanitarian assistance and disaster relief after a terrible earthquake and tsunami. We reaffirmed that at the beginning that this is a positive cooperative mechanism. I’m not saying that the subject did not come up, but in terms that my colleague just mentioned, it’s looking at those ways to provide better options to other, for instance, infrastructure ideas that we have seen don’t quite work.
And the fact is that we are hearing from the region, especially as we talk about ASEAN centrality, a demand and a desire for this sort of multilateral cooperation and interaction. Hearing the same message from four very different countries has a certain resonance to it, a harmony, as it were, so we played off that.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: And I think one of the signatures is that – is the emergence of the Development Finance Corporation from the United States side, the BUILD Act being instrumentalized. We’re going to have a conference on November 4th in Bangkok on the margins of the EAS to bring business and government leaders involved in development finance together. And so there’s – we’re trying to emphasize the positive agenda and the options that countries have, and so even if we’re – if you’re not going to see all four countries working on the same project, the fact that we can reinforce, buttress, share information, come in together, juxtapose our development projects – it’s a very important effort.
And one of the nice developments has been – there’s a Quad at the ministerial, but there’s also Quad at the embassy. We’re talking together in ways that we haven’t before, and I always give the example of when I entered the Foreign Service, what was the Quad? It was the U.S., the UK, Germany, and France sitting down together. Today’s Quad is India, Australia, Japan, and the United States. It’s a different world, there are different geopolitics, and we’re responding to the different geopolitical situation.
QUESTION: You mentioned the word “institutionalize” while you were making your remarks. What exactly does that entail? Is it – you almost sound like – as though an alliance is in the offing. Would I be right in interpreting that?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: I’d say “formalize.” I don’t want scare you with the word “institutionalize,” and this is not an alliance directed at – against a country. To the contrary —
QUESTION: I mean cooperation.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: This is cooperation. So —
QUESTION: In a military context.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: So as we look at – right – no, no, no. As we start and we’re looking at ways – how do we institutionalize our information sharing and regularize our information sharing on infrastructure and development, how do we advance our efforts on maritime domain awareness and, again, in support of open navigation and trade that we need to see continue through the Indo-Pacific region. So I think what we’re seeing with the pace of meetings that we’re holding, the development of specific areas of focus – that’s what we mean by the formalization of our efforts.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: I would also note that, as I mentioned before, four democratic countries, but also – and likeminded, but also very different, as you would imagine. And the idea of division of labor came up, as in diverse – taking advantage of our diverse perspectives and looking for the best ideas that come from those things, or capitalizing on capabilities each might have that are specific to the United States, Japan, Australia, or India. And as you would guess, those are all very different, but they are complementary. Again, this is – that’s what makes this such a slow-building but natural fit.
QUESTION: Well, at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, there were unofficial talks, informal conversations – I wouldn’t even say “talks” – about creating a kind of Asian version of the NATO alliance. Is that something on the cards or is it feasible?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: No, it was —
QUESTION: And secondly, you mentioned the word “ASEAN centrality.” How do you explain that? Can you be a little more – can you elaborate that, please?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: So I think I can answer both with one. We’ve seen what happened with the attempt at the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization, right, the Vietnam-era complement to NATO or other security alliances. It came to nothing, and for – probably for the best. You don’t – when you say “alliances,” people – they react with thoughts of Cold War and all those things, and it’s unnecessary. And continuing to raise this in terms of security alliances is not really going to advance understanding. It’s a – it’s more of an – it’s just a natural sharing of interest. We see these interest – and I’d keep coming back to infrastructure.
The demands for development are enormous. I’m going to get these numbers wrong, but I do believe the number is something like $27 trillion is going to be needed worldwide to get the infrastructure demands to where they – where everybody has a fair share. And yet there is about 70 trillion of capital out there looking for good investments.
So we talked about public-private partnerships, taking government money, using that as seed money for – again, private interests to take care of these things so they’re not specifically government paid for, sponsored, and directed.
As far as ASEAN goes, it’s a great place to start as you look for infrastructure development.
QUESTION: So we are talking only of commercial interests, or is it broad-based?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Well, security interests are part of it, but security comes from people’s well-being, democratic principles. I mean, you can – I see it all as interleafed. I don’t think there is – you can isolate any particular —
QUESTION: I also wonder how you would react to the comments made by Foreign Minister Locsin of the Philippines. He was talking about – he almost came to saying that we are willing to lease again Clark and Subic. What would be your reaction to that?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Well, I don’t think it’s any secret that we have – as a security alliance with the Philippines, long term, we already have an arrangement to exercise access to basing for common security. So as far as leasing bases, that’s never come up to date. I mean, I think you remember the – how it all ended in 1991 with Clark and Subic. Again, there’s no real interest in establishing permanent bases on either side. And these are things that feed into this narrative —
QUESTION: But that was because the Cold War ended at that time.
MODERATOR: Let’s give an opportunity for other —
QUESTION: Okay, sorry.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Great discussion. We can have some – we can talk later.
QUESTION: I had a quick question.
MODERATOR: He hasn’t asked one yet.
QUESTION: So you referred to the predatory – okay, Arul Louis from Indo-Asian News Service. You talked about the predatory loans and so forth that have been used by a certain country for infrastructure and stuff which leads to other problems. Now, in the case of Sri Lanka, India and Japan have been trying to over the project and get them out of the hole. Do you think that there’s a possibility of a more institutionalized joint operation by – like in the form of a bank or a lending mechanism by the Quad?
And the second question I have is you talked about the centrality of ASEAN. Do you think of any kind of mechanism to bring greater cooperation between ASEAN and the Quad? What would be the kind of way of not exactly formalizing it, but putting it on a continuing basis?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Do you want to talk Sri Lanka?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Yeah. I don’t think we need to look to a banking mechanism, and that’s not the ambition of the Quad dialogue. Instead, it’s how do we use our national tools – and for us, it’s the new Development Finance Corporation – and to share information and cooperate more effectively with one another. And so with our new Development Finance Corporation, we will have the flexibility now to cooperate with the Japanese development bank, with the Australian. We’re working on developing a relationship with India’s institution and already have one with the EU. And that provides greater flexibility.
But again, the Quad is not seeking – I guess to follow on this – this is not an institutional structure setting up institutions. Instead, it’s countries coming together, and working together, and coordinating.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: To the first, or second question about ASEAN’s interests and – the one that keeps coming up is a negotiated code of conduct between the PRC and ASEAN – not just the claimants, but ASEAN writ large – in the South China Sea. And I think you’re seeing their outreach not to the Quad, but to those who, again, have interests in utilizing that key sea line of communication that is the South China Sea, in making sure whatever agreement comes out of that comports with the already existing Law of the Sea Convention and with the interests of the majority of the regional countries. And you see how that is going.
So the Quad has interest in that, because all four countries use that body of water – a lot, I’ll say.
MODERATOR: Let’s just go to a journalist who hasn’t asked a question yet.
QUESTION: Thank you. My name is Koji Shonoda with the Japanese Asahi newspaper, and to [Senior State Department Official One], just a brief question.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: SBO One, thank you.
QUESTION: My question is: U.S. allies in East Asia, and especially on Japan, South Korea, so you said that President Trump – the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe noted that the importance of a trilateral security cooperation between U.S., Japan, and South Korea. So my question is: What were the – President Trump’s expectations to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in their discussions yesterday? And also, what do you think Japan and Korea should do to ease the tension? Thank you.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: I am not going to prescribe or get involved in helping Japan and Korea sort out their particular differences that have been going on for some time now. I’d just simply ask that we find a resolution fairly quickly, and a resolution that addresses the concerns of both sides, and a resolution that also addresses U.S. security concerns in the region. There’s been – note that because activity isn’t – been visible publicly that somehow that the U.S. doesn’t care or is standing by, and that is absolutely not the case. If – separately, I want to give you a list of all the meetings I’ve taken in the last week on this subject, well, I’d be happy to give you a general description of how much the U.S. is concerned and engaged. But in the end, this is a – this is between Seoul and Tokyo, and we ask both sides to find a way to resolve this quickly.
QUESTION: Just – so sorry. So specifically, what kind of thing President Trump said to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on this issue last – yesterday?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: That’s an easy one. I wasn’t there, can’t tell you.
MODERATOR: We have time for one or two more questions. There’s one in the back, and then we’ll come to you to wrap up.
QUESTION: I had a question, [Senior State Department Official Two]. If – was there a discussion on the Malabar exercises? I know they’re underway right now, but for next year, will Australia be joining them?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: There wasn’t a direct conversation on Malabar, but we – it’s a premiere exercise. We welcome the opportunity to work with India and Japan in this setting, and I leave open the question of any future modifications.
QUESTION: And on – little bit of a tangent, since you discussed the India-U.S. relationship as well, do we have a date for the 2 + 2, which I think is in October?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: We don’t have a date fixed yet. It will take place in the fall, and in the meantime, we’re looking forward to Foreign Minister Jaishankar’s trip to Washington on the 30th.
QUESTION: Hi. Kevin Princic with Yomiuri Shimbun. I wanted to kind of backtrack a little bit to – you had discussed freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. I guess if you could go into a little bit of specifics about the discussions you had about that. In addition, did you talk about Chinese base-building on the artificial islands they built in the South China Sea?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: No, and no. The – I mean, it was – we discussed ASEAN centrality, but again, the conversation revolved around issues that relate specifically to the four countries. I mean, look, the South China Sea is on everyone’s mind, but as far as specific details on freedom of navigation, assertions and the like, no we did not. Again, this is ministerial level, so —
QUESTION: Can I ask one question?
MODERATOR: I think one more question, then we’re out of time after that. Have you had a chance to ask a question?
QUESTION: Can I?
MODERATOR: Please.
QUESTION: My name is Kentaro Nakajima with Yomiuri Shimbun. I’d like to ask about the U.S., Japan, and South Korea relationship. And so, last year, three countries had a trilateral meeting here. There are many occasions to discuss about the security cooperation with regard to North Korea. And why this year the three countries couldn’t meet together? The United States – U.S. Government persuaded to Japan and South Korea to discuss together at this time?
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: So I love her term “unnecessary Kremlinology,” I think that makes – that pretty much captures this. Let’s just look at historically, our Secretary has met trilaterally eight times. The President? Twice. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met, to include recently. The Secretary very publicly met with – a trilateral event on this subject in the East Asia Summit back in August. We’re very concerned, we’re doing what we can, but in the end, it’s between Seoul and Tokyo.
MODERATOR: Okay, thanks so much. That concludes the briefing. If you have any questions about attribution, or you need a quote for you’re reporting, let us know. Thank you again to our briefers.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TWO: Thank you.
Readout of U.S.-Australia-India-Japan Ministerial (“The Quad”) | U.S. Embassy & Consulates in India
 
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Gautam

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To make Tokyo Olympics safe, Indian Army trains Japanese soldiers in counter-terror operations

By Manjeet Singh Negi, December 4, 2019 14:02 IST

At a time when Army Chief General Bipin Rawat is in Japan, Indian and Japanese armies are enhancing their cooperation to tackle any possible terrorist attack during the Tokyo Olympics.


At a time when Army Chief General Bipin Rawat is in Japan, Indian and Japanese armies are enhancing their cooperation to tackle any possible terrorist attack during the Tokyo Olympics.

As part of the cooperation, the Indian Army helped their Japanese counterpart, during the exercise Dharma Guardian in October this year. They engaged in practice drills to counter terrorist attacks in a simulated situation, Indian Army sources told India Today TV.

Japan is hosting the Olympic Games in July next year in Tokyo. Intelligence agencies have warned that the event may be targeted by terror outfits. Indian Army has vast experience in counter-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir and also the Northeast. It shares its experience with other the forces of other countries by holding joint drills.

Meanwhile, during his Japan tour, General Rawat will meet Defence Minister Taro Kono and discuss issues of mutual interests. The visit by the army chief comes days after India and Japan held their inaugural first foreign and defence ministerial dialogue to further expand strategic and defence ties.

The Quad (US, Japan, India, Australia Security Dialogue) : Updates and Discussions
 

Gautam

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India, Australia to hold 2+2 talks next week, focus on PM Morrison’s January visit

Updated: Dec 03, 2019
By Rezaul H Laskar

This year’s edition of the talks, popularly known as the 2+2 dialogue, assume additional significance as they come months after India, Australia, Japan and the US decided to upgrade their interactions in the “Quadrilateral” format to the ministerial level in September.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison meet on the sidelines of East Asia Summit, in Singapore. (File photo: PTI)

India and Australia are set to hold their third combined dialogue of the defence and foreign secretaries on December 9, with the Indo-Pacific and preparations for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s visit next year expected to top the agenda.

This year’s edition of the talks, popularly known as the 2+2 dialogue, assume additional significance as they come months after India, Australia, Japan and the US decided to upgrade their interactions in the “Quadrilateral” format to the ministerial level in September.

Australia’s foreign secretary Frances Adamson and defence secretary Greg Moriarty will meet their Indian counterparts Vijay Gokhale and Ajay Kumar in New Delhi, people familiar with planning for the dialogue said.

“The main focus will be on the bilateral outcomes for Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s visit in January,” said a person who declined to be identified.

“Issues such as defence, maritime, cyber and critical technology cooperation and counter-terrorism cooperation will also be on the agenda,” the person added.

Morrison is visiting India at the invitation of his counterpart Narendra Modi and will deliver the inaugural address at the Raisina Dialogue.

The Indo-Pacific and the situation in the South China Sea, where India and Australia have called for freedom of navigation and overflights in accordance with international rules, are also expected to figure in the discussions, the people cited above said.

All aspects of bilateral relations will be reviewed, with the focus on security and strategic relations.

India has put in place 2+2 dialogues, either at the level of officials or ministers, with several key partners, including Japan and the US. During the maiden India-Japan 2+2 ministerial dialogue, held in New Delhi over the weekend, the two sides called for a “free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region in which the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity are ensured, and all countries enjoy freedom of navigation and overflight”.

India and the US are expected to hold their ministerial 2+2 dialogue in Washington on December 18.

India, Australia to hold 2+2 talks next week, focus on PM Morrison’s January visit
 

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Common enmity shouldn't guide Japan-India ties
The Japan-India partnership made progress last weekend when the two governments held their first “two plus two meeting,” a security discussion among their foreign and defense ministers. This dialogue is part of strengthened defense cooperation and a deepening convergence of views among the two countries. Geopolitics and economics are drawing Japan and India closer. This is a welcome development, but it is also important to recognize the limits to this process.

Tokyo and New Delhi have been courting each other for some time, but ties took a noticeable step forward in 2014 at a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi. Then, they declared bilateral ties constituted a “special strategic and global partnership.” Annual prime ministerial summits followed. When the two men met again at the Group of 20 summit that Abe hosted last summer in Osaka, they agreed to push security ties to the next level.

After last weekend’s meeting, the two governments released a joint statement that declared the “further strengthening of bilateral cooperation was in mutual interest of both countries and would also help in furthering the cause of the peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.” After the “two plus two,” Modi met Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Taro Kono, and emphasized that India’s relationship with Japan is “a key component of our vision for Indo-Pacific for peace, stability and prosperity of the region, as well as a cornerstone of India’s Act East Policy.”

Japan considers India to be “a quasi-ally,” a status shared only by Australia and the United Kingdom. In its latest white paper, the Defense Ministry identified India as its third-most important partner in security cooperation, only behind the United States and Australia.

In practical terms, the two governments aim to sign an acquisition and cross-serving agreement (ACSA) between their militaries as well as hold joint fighter jet air drills and to promote joint research on a new unmanned ground vehicle.

This burgeoning partnership rests on a personal relationship between Abe and Modi, who see themselves as strategists and are determined to elevate their nations’ role in regional and global affairs. The partnership is built, in turn, on two pillars: a shared geostrategic vision that is deeply suspicious of Chinese intentions and the complementarity of the two countries’ economies.

That worldview is reflected in the joint statement, which noted the two governments’ commitment to a “free, open, encompassing, and rules-based” Indo-Pacific region. Adding the word “encompassing” is a nod to New Delhi’s preference for a regional vision that is open to all participants, a way of deflecting Chinese claims that proponents of a free and open Indo-Pacific are designing a structure to contain China or draw a line through the region. Japan and India have been cooperating to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific by jointly developing a port in Sri Lanka, a potential model for other projects elsewhere in the region and a challenge to China’s “Belt and Road” initiative. This complements their work with the U.S. and Australia in “the Quad,” a four-party mechanism for security cooperation.

The other pillar of the partnership is economic cooperation. India is eager to develop its infrastructure and Japan wants to exploit those opportunities. Topping the list of priorities is a high-speed rail project in India. Costing some $15 billion, it is Japan’s largest single-country Official Development Assistance yen loan project. Another fruitful area of cooperation is green technology.

Despite the seeming convergence of views, there are reasons to be cautious about the prospects for cooperation. First, there is India’s bureaucracy, which has slowed the implementation of the rail project. Second, hopes for increased trade have been frustrated. Two-way trade was just $15.7 billion in 2017, about one-fifth of India’s trade with China. New Delhi’s decision to withdraw from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is another indication of the obstacles to market reforms that limit economic relations.

That decision also reflects a third factor: India’s much-vaunted commitment to independence. All Indian leaders will zealously safeguard the country’s status as nonaligned and will remain reluctant to make any decision that might be seen as ceding sovereignty.

Finally, while New Delhi has a contentious relationship with Beijing, every Indian government must maintain a working relationship with China. Like Abe, Modi must seek common ground with Beijing whenever he can. This is a critical bound to any partnership between Japan and India. It must focus on genuine accomplishments and securing prosperity and stability for both its peoples. It cannot rest on an assertion of shared interests created by common enmity toward a third country.
Common enmity shouldn't guide Japan-India ties | The Japan Times