US Secretary of Defence to tour Asia, focus on strengthening ties with Indo-Pacific countries
Washington : Following the first-ever virtual summit of the top leaders of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) on March 12, the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J Austin informed that he has arrived at the US Indo-Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii on Sunday to begin his Asia tour from Monday.
"Great to be back in Hawaii. Tomorrow, I kick off a week of meetings with my @INDOPACOM leadership, as well as my counterparts in Japan, the Republic of Korea, and India. We have many important issues to discuss to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region," tweeted Austin.
He will be visiting three nations - India, Japan and South Korea in the Indo-Pacific region to discuss the strengthening of existing partnerships and alliances there, read the US Department of Defense release.
In both Japan and Korea, the Secretary of Defence will be accompanied by Secretary of State Antony J Blinken during meetings with government officials.
The Quad is a strategic forum comprising India, Japan, Australia, and the United States of America.
Indo-Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system.
Moreover, China has criticised the framework as an Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation seeking to undermine its legitimate rise. (ANI)