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Quad Foreign Ministers reaffirm commitment to free and open Indo-Pacific
Image Credit: UNI

Quad Foreign Ministers reaffirm commitment to free and open Indo-Pacific

| @indiablooms | 03 Mar 2023, 01:05 pm

New Delhi/UNI: Foreign Ministers of the Quad nations – India, Australia, Japan and the US – met in the Indian capital today and reaffirmed that the grouping is a force for regional and global good and its commitment toward an inclusive, resilient, free and open Indo-Pacific.

EAM, in a tweet, said, "Began the day by meeting my Quad counterparts @SenatorWong, Yoshimasa Hayashi and @SecBlinken.

"Reaffirmed that the Quad is ‘for’, not ‘against’. And for an inclusive, resilient, free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The Quad joint statement said the meeting “reaffirms the Quad’s steadfast commitment to supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive and resilient."

The grouping also reiterated its conviction that the Quad, acting as a force for regional and global good, will be guided by the priorities of the Indo-Pacific region through its positive and constructive agenda.

It reaffirming "our consistent and unwavering support for ASEAN centrality and unity, and the ASEAN-led architecture…we are committed to further strengthening our respective relationships with ASEAN, thus creating a platform for greater Quad collaboration in support of the AOIP (ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific)."

They voiced support for the Pacific Island countries, guided by Pacific priorities of climate change, resilient infrastructure and maritime security, and strengthening cooperation with the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), to address the region’s most pressing and important challenges.

"We welcome India’s leadership in finalising the IORA Outlook on the Indo-Pacific," it said.

It noted the progress under the Quad Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Partnership (HADR) for the Indo-Pacific.

They welcomed the outcomes of the first HADR tabletop exercise and biannual meeting held in India in December 2022, and looked forward to the finalization of the Partnership’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) .

They concurred that the rules-based international order is anchored in international law, including the UN Charter, and the principles of sovereignty, political independence, and territorial integrity of all states, and committed to active and constructive engagement in the Inter-Governmental Negotiations (IGN) process on Security Council Reforms to make the UNSC “more effective, representative, and credible”.

They reiterated the importance of adherence to international maritime law, as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the South and East China Seas – in an allusion to China and its hegemonistic policies in the South China Sea.

"We strongly oppose any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo or increase tensions in the area.

"We express serious concern at the militarization of disputed features, the dangerous use of coast guard vessels and maritime militia, and efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activities," it said, in direct reference to Beijing’s activities in the South and East China Seas that has led to tensions with its neighbours.

They referred to the Security Working Group meeting being hosted by the US in Washington in March, and welcomed the progress made under the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA).

They unequivocally condemned terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations, and denounced the use of terrorist proxies and emphasized the importance of denying any logistical, financial or military support to terrorist organizations which could be used to launch or plan terrorist attacks, including transnational and cross-border attacks.

They reiterated their condemnation of terrorist attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai, which claimed lives of citizens from all Quad countries, and Pathankot attacks.

They announced the establishment of the Quad Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, which will explore cooperation amongst the Quad, and with Indo-Pacific partners, to counter new and emerging forms of terrorism, radicalization to violence and violent extremism. The first meeting is to be held in the US in 2023.

The members expressed deep concern at the deteriorating situation in Myanmar and condemned North Korea’s "destabilising ballistic missile launches".

On Ukraine, the members said they "continued to discuss our responses to the conflict in Ukraine and the immense human suffering it is causing, and concurred that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible.

"We underscored the need for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter. We emphasised that the rules-based international order must respect sovereignty, territorial integrity, transparency and peaceful resolution of disputes."

They welcomed the announcement of the first class of Quad Fellows, who will begin their academic pursuits in the US in August 2023.

They said they look forward to the next Quad Leaders’ Summit being hosted by Australia this year.

"We will work closely to align and complement Quad’s agenda with Japan’s Presidency of the G7, India’s Presidency of the G20 and the United States’ APEC host year in 2023," the joint statement said.

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