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‘Force for good’ — Quad sends message of solidarity amid Russia invasion, China challenges

Second in-person Quad Summit held Tuesday. PM Modi also held bilateral meetings with US President Biden, Japan PM Kishida and Australia’s new PM Albanese on the sidelines.

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New Delhi: The US, India, Japan and Australia came together Tuesday to assert that their Quad partnership “is a force for good, committed to bringing tangible benefits” — a message of solidarity at a time the world has been shaken by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Chinese challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

The ‘Quad Summit’, held in Tokyo, was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australia’s newly-elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

This is the third time since 2021 that Quad leaders held a summit-level meeting of the grouping. In March 2021, the first-ever Quad summit was held in virtual format, followed by an in-person meeting in September 2021 at the White House in Washington.

A special meeting of the Quad was held virtually in March this year in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Quad is a force for good, committed to bringing tangible benefits to the region,” read a joint statement issued by Biden, Modi, Kishida and Albanese Tuesday.

In his opening remarks, Kishida declared that Russia’s actions have “shaken” the rules-based global order.

“A grave incident which has fundamentally shaken the rule-of-law-based international order we value has happened since we met last September. Russian invasion into Ukraine squarely challenges the principles which are enshrined in the United Nations Charter. We should never, ever allow a similar incident to happen in the Indo-Pacific,” said the Japanese prime minister.

He further said that because of the “hard reality” that was “unfolding”, it was “extremely significant” for Quad leaders to “get together and show to international society the four countries’ solidarity and firm commitment toward the shared vision of free and open Indo-Pacific”.

“I must say that without walking in step with the countries in the region, we cannot secure success for the Quad either,” Kishida added.

His words were echoed by Biden, who said that as long as Russia continued with its war on Ukraine, the Quad countries will “continue to be partners and lead a global response”.

“Russia’s assault on Ukraine only heightens the importance of those goals — the fundamental principles of international order, territorial integrity and sovereignty, international law. Human rights must always be defended, regardless of where they’re violated in the world,” the US president further said.

Biden stressed that the Quad has a “lot of work” to do in order to keep “this [Indo-Pacific] region peaceful and stable”.

He also said that the Quad “isn’t just a passing fad”. 

“We mean business. We’re here to get things done for the region,” he added.

The leaders agreed that the next in-person summit of the Quad will be held in 2023 hosted by Australia.

Also Read: India to join US-led Indo-Pacific ‘economic arrangement’ next week, bloc aimed at taking on China

‘Stronger, more cooperative Indo-Pacific region’

According to the joint statement, discussions were also held on the Russia-Ukraine war’s impact on the Indo-Pacific region.

“As the Indo-Pacific is reshaped, our Quad partnership is needed now more than ever to meet the challenges and threats of a less certain world; to shape that world for the better; and build a stronger, more cooperative Indo-Pacific region that respects sovereignty,” said Australian PM Albanese.

While making his opening remarks, PM Modi said, “The Quad is moving forward with a constructive agenda for the Indo-Pacific region. This will continue to strengthen the image of the Quad as a force for good.”

Later on, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra told reporters in Tokyo that “challenges in the Indo-Pacific were also discussed”.

On China

Without naming China, the Quad leaders said that their countries will champion adherence to international law in order to meet “challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the East and South China Seas”.

“We strongly oppose any coercive, provocative or unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo and increase tensions in the area, such as the militarisation of disputed features, the dangerous use of coast guard vessels and maritime militia, and efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activities,” the joint statement said.

Just as the leaders were meeting in Tokyo, Russia and China launched their first ever joint military exercise by flying bomber flights over the Sea of Japan. According to Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi, two Chinese and two Russian bombers flew over Japan’s airspace.  

During the summit, the Quad leaders also unequivocally condemned terrorist attacks, particularly the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and the January 2016 Pathankot airbase attack.

Modi, Biden discuss fallout of Russia-Ukraine war separately

Modi and Biden also met separately on the sidelines of the Quad meeting and discussed the fallout of the Russia-Ukraine war, which has entered its third month.

“The India-US Comprehensive Strategic Global Partnership is underpinned by a shared commitment to democratic values, rule of law, and a commitment to uphold a rules based international order. The leaders expressed happiness with progress made across sectors in the bilateral agenda,” read a press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs.

According to a readout by the White House, both leaders discussed “how to cooperate to manage disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine, in particular the rise in energy and food prices”.

PM Modi also held bilateral meetings with Kishida and Albanese.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

Also Read: Quad differences out in the open, Biden & Kishida call for support but India stays silent


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