The first 'Quad' meeting was held in 2019 on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York
The first 'Quad' meeting was held in 2019 on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York
Twitter/@DrSJaishankar

New Delhi: The third Quad ministerial meeting between foreign ministers of India, Australia, Japan and USA will be held on Thursday to exchange views on regional and global issues, the Ministry of External Affairs has said.

The meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Japan's Toshimitsu Motegi will take place via video conferencing.

The meeting will provide an opportunity to continue the useful exchange of views from their last meeting in Tokyo on October 6, 2020, the MEA said.

"The ministers will exchange views on regional and global issues especially practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. They will also discuss ongoing efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing global climate change and other issues of mutual interest," it added.

Earlier, the US State Department had said that the meeting "is critical to advancing our shared goals of free and open Indo-Pacific and rising to the defining challenges of our time".

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday that "coordinating our efforts like Covid-19 response, as well as climate change", will also figure in their discussions.

The Quad was revived in 2017 as the US pushed cooperation among the regional democracies to meet the China challenge. The first meeting of foreign ministers of the four countries under the Quad framework was held in New York in 2019. The four countries held another meeting last year in Tokyo during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This will be Blinken's first meeting as Secretaray of State as President Joe Biden took office in January this year. Biden has made China the principal adversary of America, saying earlier this month that Washington will "take on directly the challenges posed".

Later during a call, Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, "agreed to continuing close cooperation to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, including support for freedom of navigation, territorial integrity, and a stronger regional architecture through the Quad", the White House said.

Since Biden assumed the presidency, officials of the two countries dealing with defence and foreign policy have discussed the Indo-Pacific cooperation in phone conversations.

Blinken and Jaishankar have held two phone conversations.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austing, and National Security Advisers Ajit Doval of India and Jake Sullivan of the US have also talked.

(With IANS inputs)

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