India and the United States have reaffirmed their commitment to ensuring stability in the Indo-Pacific region, which they claim has been disrupted due to China's "assertive" behaviour in the region.
Taking to Twitter following his meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before the QUAD meeting, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said, "Began my Tokyo visit with a bilateral meeting with Pompeo. Pleased to see the progress of our partnership in so many fields. Will work together for stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific".
Began my Tokyo visit with a bilateral meeting with @SecPompeo. Pleased to see the progress of our partnership in so many fields. Will work together for stability and prosperity in the Indo- Pacific. pic.twitter.com/isZMTNlHXe— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) October 6, 2020
The Indo-Pacific region has been witnessing increased military presence by the US and China, who have traded accusations on a number of issues. While Washington accuses Beijing of "controversial territorial claims" in the South China Sea, Beijing has slammed the United States for "driving the militarisation" of the South China Sea.
Numerous states claim sovereignty over the islands and islets of the South China Sea, including China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam. However, China has the greatest presence in the region. The US, despite having no claims on the territories, is also actively engaged in the dispute, sending its military vessels to the area, sparking harsh criticism from Beijing, which calls such acts "provocations".
The meeting also comes against the backdrop of growing tensions between India and China in the wake of deadly clashes between the armed forces of the two countries in eastern Ladakh's Galwan Valley on 15 June.
The foreign ministers of the four QUAD countries — India, Japan, Australia, and the US - will also discuss the international order post-COVID-19 and the coordination for responses to handle the challenges posed by the pandemic, a statement by Indian Foreign Ministry said.
"They will also discuss regional issues and collectively affirm the importance of maintaining a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific", it read.