Quad formation discusses “rules-based order” in Indo-Pacific

[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 November 2018, 17:11 GMT]
The governments of the USA, India, Japan and Australia on Thursday issued statements through their respective foreign ministries echoing “rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific” in their statements. The statements come after the senior officials of the Quad countries met in Singapore on Thursday for consultations on addressing the Chinese challenge in the Indo-Pacific region. Another phrase featured in all the four statements, including that of India, was “ASEAN centrality”. The statements from three countries, except India, mentioned ‘Sri Lanka’ and the Maldives.

“United States officials underscored the importance of coordinated and complementary engagement to advance shared regional interests, including support for the new Maldivian government and encouragement of an outcome to political developments in Sri Lanka consistent with democratic principles,” the US Statement said.

The countries discussed shared commitment, goals and support and they have agreed to engage with 'Sri Lanka' in a coordinated and complementary manner.

Regional security, through cooperation on maritime, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and cyber issues, was discussed.

The US statement also talks about “sustainable debt burden,” while the Australian statement phrases the issue as “avoiding unsustainable debt burdens”.

The “rules-based international order” seems to be focused on respect for international law, freedom of navigation and overflight.

Along with the ASEAN centrality, Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) have been mentioned in the statements of USA, Australia and Japan.

Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are the ten member states of ASEAN. India has a free trade agreement with the ASEAN.

India and ‘Sri Lanka’ are members of the IORA while Pakistan and Myanmar are not part of that formation.

* * *


Statement issued by the USA:

On November 15, senior officials from the United States, Australia, India, and Japan met in Singapore for consultations on the Indo-Pacific region. The officials reaffirmed a shared commitment to maintain and strengthen a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific in which all nations are sovereign, strong, and prosperous. They further highlighted the complementary visions for the region held by their four countries, grounded in a shared support for a free, open, and inclusive region that fosters universal respect for international law, freedom of navigation and overflight, and sustainable development.

Officials from the four countries focused on their shared goals, including support for sustainable development, connectivity, and good governance.

The officials highlighted the importance of good governance in strengthening the rules-based order and reviewed initiatives to enhance regional security, including through cooperation on maritime, counterterrorism, non-proliferation, and cyber issues. They committed to driving broad economic development that harnesses the region’s full potential and fosters connectivity and development of infrastructure based on transparency, genuine need, sustainable debt burden, and other principles in accordance with international standards. They reaffirmed their strong support for ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN-led regional architecture, as well as their support for other regional institutions such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association and the Pacific Islands Forum. Participants highlighted the importance of coordination and collaboration with all interested countries and institutions to support a diverse, peaceful, and prosperous region.

United States officials underscored the importance of coordinated and complementary engagement to advance shared regional interests, including support for the new Maldivian government and encouragement of an outcome to political developments in Sri Lanka consistent with democratic principles.

The four countries looked forward to regular consultations on Indo-Pacific engagement and initiatives.

* * *


Statement issued by Australia:

Media Release
15 November 2018

On 15 November, senior officials from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade met representatives from the foreign ministries of India, Japan and the United States for discussions on the Indo-Pacific region. The officials reaffirmed a shared commitment to maintain and strengthen a rules-based order. They discussed the complementary visions for the Indo-Pacific held by their four countries which each strive for an open, prosperous and inclusive region in which international law, freedom of navigation and overflight and the rights of all states are respected.

The officials highlighted the importance of good governance in strengthening a rules-based order and also reviewed initiatives to enhance regional security, including through cooperation on maritime, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and cyber issues. The parties noted the value of working together to support stability in the Indo-Pacific regional maritime domain. They committed to supporting broad economic development that harnesses the region’s full potential and fosters connectivity, and affirmed the importance of development of infrastructure based on principles of transparency and openness, meeting genuine need, avoiding unsustainable debt burdens and adherence to high standards.

They reaffirmed their strong support for ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN-led regional architecture, particularly the East Asia Summit, as well as for other important regional institutions such as the Pacific Islands Forum and the Indian Ocean Rim Association.

Participants highlighted the importance of coordination and collaboration with all interested countries and institutions to support a resilient, peaceful and prosperous region.

The officials also exchanged views on recent regional developments, including in Sri Lanka and Maldives.

The four countries agreed to continue to meet regularly for Consultations on Indo-Pacific engagement and initiatives.

* * *


Statement issued by Japan:

Japan-Australia-India-U.S. Consultations
November 15, 2018

  1. On November 15, senior officials from Japan, Australia, India and the United States, met in Singapore for Consultations on the Indo-Pacific region.

  2. The four countries reaffirmed a shared commitment to maintain and strengthen a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific in which all nations are sovereign, strong, and prosperous. They further highlighted the complementary visions for the region held by the four countries, grounded in a shared support for a free, open, and inclusive region that fosters universal respect for international law, freedom of navigation and overflight, and sustainable development.

  3. The four countries focused on their shared goals, including support for sustainable development, connectivity, and good governance. They highlighted the importance of good governance in strengthening the rules-based order and reviewed initiatives to enhance regional security, including through cooperation on maritime, counterterrorism, non-proliferation, and cyber issues. They committed to supporting broad economic development that harnesses the region’s full potential and fosters development of quality infrastructure based on international standards, such as openness, transparency, economic efficiency, and debt sustainability.

  4. The four countries reaffirmed their strong support for ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN-led regional architecture, as well as their support for other regional institutions such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association and the Pacific Islands Forum. They highlighted the importance of coordination and collaboration with all interested countries and institutions to support a diverse, peaceful, and prosperous region.

  5. The four countries also exchanged views on regional developments including in Sri Lanka and Maldives.

  6. The four countries looked forward to regular Consultations on Indo-Pacific engagement and initiatives.


* * *


Statement issued by India:

India-Australia-Japan-U.S. Consultations
November 15, 2018

Officials from Ministry of External Affairs of India, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Department of State of the United States of America met in Singapore on November 15, 2018 for consultations on regional and global issues of common interest.

The discussions focused on cooperation in areas such as connectivity, sustainable development, counter-terrorism, non-proliferation and maritime and cyber security, with a view to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected Indo-Pacific region that the four countries share with each other and with other partners.

The participants reaffirmed the ASEAN centrality as the cornerstone of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. They agreed to partner with other countries and forums in the region to promote a free, open, rules-based and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific that fosters trust and confidence. They committed to strengthening connectivity and quality infrastructure based on sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of all nations, as well as transparency, economic viability and financial responsibility.

The officials also exchanged views on recent developments in the regional situation.

All sides agreed to continue the consultations.

New Delhi
November 15, 2018


External Links:
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Australia-India-Japan-United States Consultations
Indian Ministry of External Affairs: India-Australia-Japan-U.S. Consultations
Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Japan-Australia-India-U.S. Consultations
U.S. Department of State: U.S.-Australia-India-Japan Consultations


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