Quad key example of US, partners pulling together for free and open Indo-Pacific: US

Washington, Feb 10 (PTI) The Quad is a key example of the US and its closest partners, including India, pulling together for the good of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, the Biden administration has said.

The Quad, or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is an informal grouping of four countries — Australia, India, Japan and the United States. It is aimed at ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific, a strategically vital region that witnessed increasing Chinese military assertiveness in recent years.

“What I would say generally is that the Quad is a key example of the United States and our closest partners, including, in this case, India, pulling together for the good of a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price told reporters at his daily news conference on Tuesday.

The evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of China’s increasing military muscle flexing has become a major talking point among leading global powers. The US has been favouring making Quad, comprising a security architecture to check China’s growing assertiveness.

China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas. Beijing has also made substantial progress in militarising its man-made islands in the past few years.

Beijing claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea. But Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims. In the East China Sea, China has territorial disputes with Japan.

The South China Sea and the East China Sea are stated to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources.

They are also vital to global trade. Although the US lays no claims to the disputed waters, it has challenged China’s growing territorial claims in the South China Sea by deploying warships and fighter jets to assert freedom of navigation and overflight patrols in the strategically important region.

“We view the Quad as having essential momentum and important potential, and that’s why we’re going to build on it by deepening cooperation on areas of traditional focus and that includes maritime security while also working closely with Quad partners to confront some of the defining issues of our time, Price said.

It includes the COVID-19 pandemic, climate and “democratic resilience as well, he said.

Price was responding to a question on news reports that the Biden administration is working on a Quad summit. “We don’t have anything to announce at this time,” he said.