New Delhi: With an eye on China, India along with the other three Quad countries — the US, Japan and Australia — committed to a “free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion.” They said they were “committed to promoting a free, open rules-based order, rooted in international law to advance security and prosperity and counter threats to both in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Quad had come of age and that it had become an important pillar of stability in the region.
Modi with United States President Joe Biden, the Japanese and Australian Prime Ministers Yoshihide Suga of Japan and Scott Morrison of Australia discussed the Covid “Vaccine Initiative” as per which Covid would be “developed in the US, manufactured in India, financed by Japan and the US, and supported by Australia” at the meeting.
After their meeting on Friday evening, Modi, Biden and the Australian and Japanese PMs said, “To advance these goals and others, we will redouble our commitment to Quad engagement. We will combine our nations’ medical, scientific, financing, manufacturing and delivery, and development capabilities and establish a vaccine expert working group to implement our path-breaking commitment to safe and effective vaccine distribution.”
They said the quad would launch a critical- and emerging-technology working group to facilitate cooperation on international standards and innovative technologies of the future. They said the quad would establish a climate working group to strengthen climate actions globally on mitigation, adaptation, resilience, technology, capacity-building, and climate finance.
They added, “Our experts and senior officials will continue to meet regularly; our foreign ministers will converse often and meet at least once a year. At the leader level, we will hold an in-person summit by the end of 2021.”
Hinting at China, the four leaders said, “We support the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity. We commit to work together and with a range of partners. We reaffirm our strong support for ASEAN’s unity and centrality as well as the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. Full of potential, the Quad looks forward to the future; it seeks to uphold peace and prosperity and strengthen democratic resilience, based on universal values.”
They further said, “Our common goals require us to reckon with the most urgent of global challenges. Today, we pledge to respond to the economic and health impacts of Covid-19, combat climate change, and address shared challenges, including in cyber space, critical technologies, counterterrorism, quality infrastructure investment, and humanitarian-assistance and disaster-relief as well as maritime domains.”
They added, “Building on the progress our countries have achieved on health security, we will join forces to expand safe, affordable, and effective vaccine production and equitable access, to speed economic recovery and benefit global health. With steadfast commitment to the health and safety of our own people, we also recognize that none of us can be safe as long as the pandemic continues to spread. We will, therefore, collaborate to strengthen equitable vaccine access for the Indo-Pacific, with close coordination with multilateral organizations including the World Health Organisation and Covax (a global initiative to ensure easy access to the Covid vaccine). We call for transparent and results-oriented reform at the World Health Organisation. We are united in recognizing that climate change is a global priority and will work to strengthen the climate actions of all nations, including to keep a Paris-aligned temperature limit within reach.”
The four leader said, “We look forward to a successful COP-26 in Glasgow. We will begin cooperation on the critical technologies of the future to ensure that innovation is consistent with a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific. We will continue to prioritise the role of international law in the maritime domain, particularly as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and facilitate collaboration, including in maritime security, to meet challenges to the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas. We reaffirm our commitment to the complete denuclearization of North Korea in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions, and also confirm the necessity of immediate resolution of the issue of Japanese abductees.”
The leaders said, “As long-standing supporters of Myanmar and its people, we emphasize the urgent need to restore democracy and the priority of strengthening democratic resilience.”