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“Source:- Livemint”
New Delhi: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said his country would work towards cementing the Quad grouping that brings together the US, Japan and India besides Australia more firmly in the Indo-Pacific’ region’s diplomatic and security architecture.

In a major foreign policy speech to the Sydney-based Lowy Institute think tank, Morrison also announced that he had accepted an invite to be the key note speaker at the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi in January. The Raisina Dialogue, that takes place in the middle of January every year, is a prestigious annual foreign policy forum modeled on the lines of the Singapore-organised Shangrila Dialogue that gathers leaders, international security experts and foreign policy practitioners.

On the Quad, seen by some as a counter to the aggressively rising China, Morrison said it was “an important forum for Australia and the region” that “complements the role of ASEAN and ASEAN-led architecture.” ASEAN brings together 10 Southeast Asian nations.

While not mentioning China in relation to the Quad, Morrison said: “It is a key forum for exchanging views on challenges facing the region, including taking forward practical cooperation on maritime, terrorism and cyber issues.”

Morrison’s comments come a week after the Quad met at ministerial level for the first time in New York after the concept was revived in 2017.

The Quad has had three meetings at the official level prior to the ministerial meet in New York.

China’s rising military and economic profile besides its aggressive posturing in the South China Sea and other areas in the Indo-Pacific has triggered concerns among countries in the region as well as members of the Quad. The upgrading of the levels of discussion last week, could be seen as a strengthening of the Quad framework to discuss regional security challenges and prospects for coordination