Regional issues of common interest, reinforcement of strategic ties and practical cooperation for maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific was the focal point of the third ministerial meeting of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad on Thursday.
The meeting was attended by US Secretary Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.
Taking to Twitter Dr Jaishankar said, “Just concluded the Quad Foreign Ministerial Meeting with Australia, Japan and US. Our positive agenda underlines our shared commitment to global good. Discussed contemporary challenges, especially impact of Covid19.”
Just concluded the Quad Foreign Ministerial Meeting with Australia, Japan and US. Our positive agenda underlines our shared commitment to global good. Discussed contemporary challenges, especially impact of Covid19.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) February 18, 2021
He also said, “Exchanged perspectives on regional issues across the Indo-Pacific. Highlighted practical cooperation in different domains to give our agenda a concrete shape.”
Issuing a statement, Ministry of External Affairs said, “The Ministers highlighted their shared attributes as political democracies, market economies and pluralistic societies. They recognized that the changes underway in the world makes a strong case for their countries working closely together. It was important for the international community that the direction of changes remains positive and beneficial to all.
The Ministers emphasized their commitment to upholding a rules-based international order, underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation in the international seas and peaceful resolution of disputes.”
The statement further said, “Their productive exchange of views on regional issues included a reiteration of their common vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, with clear support for ASEAN cohesion and centrality. It was noted that the Indo-Pacific concept had gathered growing international support, including in Europe.”
COVID-19 and vaccination came up for detailed discussion between the leaders as well and India’s Vaccine Maitri initiative drew huge appreciation.
“The Ministers discussed ongoing efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, including vaccination programmes. They expressed their commitment to cooperate in addressing this challenge, enhancing access to affordable vaccines, medicines and medical equipment. India’s efforts at providing vaccines to 74 countries was recognized and appreciated.
#WATCH | #NewsMobile Editor’s Wrap: Why Quad Matters With Saurabh Shukla@SecBlinken @isaurabhshukla@DrSJaishankar @MofaJapan_en @MarisePayne @IndianDiplomacy #USA #Japan #Australia #India pic.twitter.com/7dUddqzTOL
— NewsMobile (@NewsMobileIndia) February 18, 2021
Ministers attending the Quad meeting also “exchanged views on responding to climate change and furthering cooperation in areas such as maritime security, HADR, supply chain resilience and counter-terrorism” and focussed on the recent military coup in Myanmar as well.
“In the discussion pertaining to recent developments in Myanmar, the upholding of rule of law and the democratic transition was reiterated by India,” the statement said.
Noting that regular Quad consultations hold value, the Ministers agreed to continue these useful discussions.
Meanwhile, ahead of the crucial Quad meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison and reiterated that India looks forward to working together for peace, prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific region.
Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Modi said he discussed regional issues of common interest with Morrison and reiterated their commitment to consolidating New Delhi and Canberra Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
Spoke with my good friend PM @ScottMorrisonMP today. Reiterated our commitment to consolidating our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Also discussed regional issues of common interest. Look forward to working together for peace, prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 18, 2021
“Spoke with my good friend PM @ScottMorrisonMP today. Reiterated our commitment to consolidating our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Also discussed regional issues of common interest. Look forward to working together for peace, prosperity and security in the Indo-Pacific,” he tweeted.
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.
China claims much of the South China Sea, but there are also overlapping claims by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
China has built bases and other outposts on shoals, reefs and rock outcroppings to deepen its claim over 80 per cent of the 3.6 sq km waterway, with Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan claim parts of the same area. (With ANI inputs)