New Delhi: The foreign ministers of the Quad–India, Japan, US and Australia will meet on Tuesday in Japan’s capital Tokyo to “collectively affirm the importance of maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific”. The meeting is scheduled to take place at 5 pm (local time) or 1.30 pm (IST) to discuss regional issues.  

The foreign ministers of all four Quad countries–External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi will be present for the face to face meeting, a first amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the second such Quad foreign ministers meet. In 2019, all the foreign ministers of Quad countries met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a release said, “Foreign Ministers shall discuss the post-COVID international order and the need for a coordinated response to the various challenges emerging from the pandemic.”

The release added, four ministers, will also “discuss regional issues and collectively affirm the importance of maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific”.

On the sidelines of the meet, EAM Jaishankar will also have bilaterals with his Quad counterparts, including the US. This happens even as India and the US are getting ready for 2+2 foreign and defence ministers meeting that will happen later in October. This will be first such major diplomatic engagement of the new Japanese Prime minister Yoshihide Suga. The grouping, whose focus is on “free and open” Indo Pacific is viewed suspiciously by China.

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