NEW DELHI: India and the United States have discussed the possibility of strengthening the Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue, or Quad, including a Foreign Ministers’ meet in the near future, amid Chinese intransigence on disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The Quad strategic forum, which also includes Australia and Japan, was upgraded to the ministerial level last September.

India has said previously that the Quad was not directed against any particular country, although China views it with suspicion.

A Foreign Ministers’ meet of the Quad nations is not ruled out in the near future, ET has learnt. Topics of discussion in Quad have included maritime security, cyber security and disaster management among other issues. The Quad meetings were revived from November 2017.

The issue of strengthening the Quad figured during a teleconference on Thursday night between external affairs minister S Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Jaishankar, in a tweet, termed the phone conversation as wide-ranging.

“Exchanged views on responding to the Coronavirus challenge. Discussed meeting in the Quad format in the near future,” Jaishankar said in the Twitter post.

The two ministers reviewed bilateral cooperation, “including working of relevant mechanisms” and shared “assessments on regional and global issues including South Asia, Afghanistan, Indo-Pacific & beyond”, Jaishankar wrote on the microblogging platform.

According to a US readout, both the leaders agreed to “continue close cooperation on a full range of regional and international issues, including efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, support the peace process in Afghanistan, and address recent destabilising actions in the region.”

The United States looked "forward to Quadrilateral consultations and the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later this year,” it added.

Pompeo and Jaishankar “reiterated the strength of the United States-India relationship to advance peace, prosperity, and security in the Indo-Pacific and around the globe,” according to the readout.

In recent months, Jaishankar and Pompeo have held several rounds of such bilateral conversations during which the COVID-19 pandemic and India’s current border tensions with China have been discussed.