Quad to develop ties in Mekong Delta, essential minerals

Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 19

Senior officials from the Quad countries have discussed practical ways to cooperate on countering disinformation, an area that is part of a renewed focus by the NATO as well.

Read-outs from foreign offices of the four participating countries suggest that discussions covered a wider range of topics such as critical minerals, the Mekong countries, North Korea and East China Sea. The Quad is also discussing joint disaster relief exercises and coordination in the distribution of Covid vaccines.

During their virtual meeting on Friday, diplomats from India, the US, Australia and Japan also discussed strengthening supply chain resiliency and coordinating efforts to support countries “vulnerable to malign and coercive economic actions” in the Indo-Pacific region, said a US State Department readout.

The NATO recently stepped up its approach to countering disinformation where it has also spoken of China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy and the need to counter its claim of being a responsible global leader with a superior governance model.

The Indian readout outlined cooperation in two broad subsets: connectivity and infrastructure development, and security issues (counter-terrorism, cyber security, maritime security, humanitarian and disaster relief).

The Australian readout, besides going over the ground covered by the MEA and US State Department, mentioned the “Mekong sub-region”, comprising Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as maritime security, cyber and critical technology and critical minerals.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry mentioned six areas of cooperation – quality infrastructure, maritime security, counter-terrorism, cyber security, HADR, and education and human resource development. It also mentioned regional issues such as North Korea and the East and South China Seas.

The participants included Yamada Shigeo and Endo Kazuya (Japan), Justin Hayhurst and Lauren Bain (Australia), Vani Rao and Naveen Srivastava (India) and David Stilwell and Dean Thompson (US).

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