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Big Trump push for Quad to keep Indo-Pacific free from Chinese influnce

Three countries of the Quad, barring Australia, are part of the maritime exercise Malabar hosted by India.

Published: 26th February 2020 02:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th February 2020 10:24 AM   |  A+A-

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump after their joint press statement at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Tuesday Feb. 25 2020. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav/EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  US President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced a major re-focus on the Quad-an informal grouping of the United States, Japan, India and Australia, saying it needed to be revitalised to maintain a free and secure Pacific region.

“Together, PM Narendra Modi and I are revitalising the Quad initiative,” he said of the concept, which China views as a counterweight to its rising influence in the region.  

Talking of the progress made on the Quad front, Trump said, “Since I took office, we have held the first Quad ministerial meeting...

I guess you would call it a meeting, but it seems like so much more than that.”

He said the countries have expanded co-operation on counter-terrorism, besides cyber and maritime security, to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

The president was referring to the first ministerial-level meeting held in September 2019 in New York. 

Analysts on defence strategy believe that the message is designed for Australia, the fourth of the Quad nations, to complete the quadrilateral as Japan is already a strong supporter of the Quad. In 2008 Australia had declined to be a part of the grouping.

“This is clearly an American attempt to make Australia also a responsible partner, both in security and economic domain. In the larger Indo-Pacific strategy, Quad is a very meaningful component, since it covers the entire Indian and Pacific Oceans,” said Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha (Retd), military analyst.  

Three countries of the Quad, barring Australia, are part of the maritime exercise Malabar hosted by India. Once Australia joins the Quad, the four countries will be able to exercise their joint reach over the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. Australia is seen to be gravitating towards the grouping, also because it has strong individual military relations with the other three countries. 

During President Trump’s visit India signed more a defence deal worth over $3 billion for advanced American military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters.

The Romeo’s are world’s best air platforms, capable of operating off aircraft carriers and designed to stop enemy submarines from operating in the Indian Ocean. 

Don mentions Gandhi, finally!

After a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump went to Rajghat and paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi. They laid a wreath and paid floral tributes and also planted a sapling at his memorial.

“The American people stand strongly with a sovereign and wonderful India -The vision of the great Mahatma — This is a tremendous honour!”

Trump wrote in the visitors' book at Rajghat. The First Lady also signed the message.

During his visit to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad on Monday, Trump had praised PM Narendra Modi but had not even mentioned Gandhi

On President’s platter

At the Rashtrapati Bhavan banquet, the Trumps were reportedly served appetisers that include aloo Tikki with spinach papdi, salmon fish tikka and lemon coriander soup. The main course is believed to have included morel mushrooms from the Himalayas, lamb biryani, Raan Aalishaan, and Dal Raisina and mint raita.

The dessert menu is believed to have included hazelnut apple pie with salty caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream, and malpua with rabdi.

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