QUAD to be revived to fight terrorism; works on with Pakistan: Trump

Trump also urged the importance of a secure 5G telecom network in India, ahead of a planned airwaves auction by the country

QUAD, US President, Donald Trump, Defence deal, Narendra Modi, Trump India Visit
They donated 100 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to local doctors, nurses and firefighters. They also wrote 200 personalised cards for health care workers. Photo: PTI

US President Donald Trump, who is on a two-day visit to India, said on Tuesday (February 25) that his country was working productively with Pakistan to counter terrorism on its soil.

POTUS gave the statement while addressing a joint press conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi after the two leaders held one-on-one discussions at Hyderabad House on several issues, including defence and radical Islamic terrorism.

“In our discussions, Prime Minister Modi and I affirmed the two countries’ commitment to protecting our citizens from radical Islamic terrorism. The United States is also working productively with Pakistan to confront terrorists who operate on its soil,” said Trump.

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“Together, the Prime Minister and I are revitalising the QUAD initiative – with the US, India, Australia, and Japan. Since I took office, we have held the first QUAD ministerial meeting, and expanded cooperation on counter-terrorism, cybersecurity, and maritime security to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US President added.

As a part of efforts to keep key sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence, India, Australia, Japan, and the US revived the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) in November 2017. This comes after China tried to exert its presence in the region with its multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The Dragon nation’s Belt and Road plan, which was first mentioned during a speech by the Chinese President Xi Jinping to university students in Kazakhstan in 2013, is expected to work as a medium for China to play a greater part on the international level via funding and building global transport and trade links in more than 60 countries.

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It was the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s suggestion to form the QUAD, after the four countries joined hands to provide humanitarian assistance after the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

After its formation in 2014, the QUAD met again in 2017 and the Ministry of External Affairs said they addressed “issues of common interest” such as terrorism and “proliferation linkages impacting the region”.

Even as the US President described the Indo-Pacific as an area joining Hollywood to Bollywood, with more and more countries now aligning to PM Modi’s geographical vision of the region — from Africa’s eastern shores to the western shores of the US, including Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — the QUAD works as an anchor.

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Trump said he also held talks with his “dear friend” PM Modi, urging on the importance of a secure 5G telecom network in India, ahead of a planned airwaves auction by the country.

The announcement was made in connection with the US banning Huawei on the use of its kit that creates the potential for espionage by China, an argument that was denied by Huawei and Beijing. However, India, where telecom companies have a history depending on network gears from Chinese firms, is yet to take a call.

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