As External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar heads to Japan next week, he will participate in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Quadrilateral grouping on October 6 — the first such meeting amid the tension between India and China over the border stand-off.
Jaishankar will also hold separate bilateral meetings with US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne.
The Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday announced the visit of Jaishankar — this will be one of the few in-person meetings at a time when most meetings have been in virtual mode during the pandemic.
Jaishankar will be in Tokyo on October 6-7 for bilateral consultations with the Japanese foreign minister. “The two ministers are expected to discuss bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest,” the MEA statement said.
“During the visit, the External Affairs Minister will also participate in the Second India-Australia-Japan-USA Ministerial Meeting on 6 October, 2020, in which the Foreign Ministers of the respective countries will participate,” the statement added.
This is the second Quad foreign ministers’ meeting — the first such meeting took place in New York in September last year on the margins of the UN General Assembly. Last week, senior officials of the Quad grouping had met through virtual mode.
“The Foreign Ministers shall discuss the post-Covid-19 international order and the need for a coordinated response to the various challenges emerging from the pandemic. They will also discuss regional issues and collectively affirm the importance of maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific,” the MEA statement said, with a clear signal to Beijing’s aggressive stance in South China Sea.
Meanwhile, in Beijing, China on Tuesday criticised the forthcoming meeting of the foreign ministers of India, Australia, Japan and the US — Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad — in Tokyo, saying it is opposed to the formation of “exclusive clique” harming third party’s interests.
Asked for his reaction to the Quad meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a media briefing that “peace, development and global cooperation is the overriding trend of today’s world”.
“Multilateral and plurilateral cooperation should all be open, inclusive and transparent. No one should seek an exclusive clique,” he said. “Efforts should be made to enhance regional countries’ mutual understanding and trust, instead of targeting a third party or harming third party’s interests,” he added.
“We hope the relevant country will proceed from the interests of regional countries and do more things conducive to regional peace, stability and development instead of the contrary,” Wang said.