Alongside the gladhanding, strutting and tweets from world leaders at two Asian summits over the past few days, one of the most important geopolitical developments came from a low-key meeting between civil servants from four countries. Officials from the US, Japan, Australia and India met at the weekend on the sidelines of the Asean summit in Manila to restart the “quad,” a diplomatic initiative set up a decade ago to counterbalance China’s growing power in the region, the Financial Times reports. None of the four mentioned China in subsequent statements but each touched on issues likely to make Beijing nervous. They talked of the importance of the Indo-Pacific region being “free and open” and bound by a “rules-based order.” All except India called for freedom of navigation in the region. “The very fact that this meeting happened is very important,” says Harsh Pant, a fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi think-tank.