New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid growing threats from China in the Indo-Pacific region, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday confirmed that leaders of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) members -- Australia, Japan, India and United States of America -- will hold its first meeting this month.

Morrison said that he had discussions about its with PM Modi, President Joe Biden and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga in recent conversations, adding that Quad is very central to the US and is "key to building stability and peace in the Indo-Pacific".

"This will become a feature of Indo-Pacific engagement but it’s not going to be a big bureaucracy with a big secretariat and those sort of things. It will be four leaders, four countries working together constructively for the peace, prosperity and stability of the Indo-Pacific, which is good for everyone in the Indo-Pacific," he said.

"It’s particularly good for our Asean friends [and] those throughout the southwest Pacific to ensure that they can continue with their own sovereignty and their own certainty for their own futures," he added.

What we can expect from first-ever 'Quad' head of states meet?

Though the agenda and dates for the meeting have not been finalised yet, people familiar with the reports suggest that it will be on countering China in the Indo-Pacific region. The meeting also fits in-line with the Biden administration which sees Beijing as its "biggest security challenge".

Experts feel that Quad can counterbalance China's "ability to challenge and disrupt the rules-based order" and is essential to maintain the status quo in the Indo-Pacific region.

"It’s a signalling on the part of these four democracies that they are and they would get even more serious about acting as a military and strategic counterweight to China, if Beijing were to continue to challenge [the status quo], not just in the South China Sea but also in the Indian Ocean," Aljazeera quoted Herve Lemahieu, from Sydney-based Lowy Institute, as saying.

Meanwhile, China, which has been engaged with India on its Himalayan frontier and with the US in the South China Sea, sees Quad as a 'mini-NATO' and believes that it is targeting third parties in the region.

While Quad members have also rejected China's accusation, experts also believe that it cannot be called a 'mini-NATO' or 'Asian NATO'. While the US, Japan and Australia are more focussed on the South China Sea, India is more concerned about the Indian Ocean.

They believe that India might help other Quad members with capacity-building but won't "take risks that might involve violence or escalation in the South China Sea".

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma