Need to Return to Path of Dialogue & Diplomacy, Says PM Modi At Quad Meet

A PMO press release said that the meeting reviewed the progress on Quad initiatives since the September 2021 Summit.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, 3 March, participated in a Quad Leaders' virtual meeting, along with United States President Joe Biden, Australian PM Scott Morrison, and Japanese PM Fumio Kishida.

A press release from the Prime Ministers's Office (PMO) said that the meeting reviewed the progress on Quad initiatives since the September 2021 Quad Summit.

"The leaders agreed on accelerating cooperation, with an objective to achieve concrete outcomes by the summit in Japan later this year," it read.

According to the release, at the meeting, PM Modi underlined that Quad must remain focused on its objective of promoting peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

He called for concrete forms of cooperation within Quad, in areas like Humanitarian and Disaster Relief, debt sustainability, supply chains and capacity-building.

PM Modi also emphasised the need to return to a path of dialogue and diplomacy, and reiterated the importance of adhering to the United Nations Charter, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the PMO went on to say.

Leaders also discussed other issues, including developments in ASEAN, Indian Ocean region and the Pacific Islands and agreed to stay in touch and to work towards an ambitious agenda for the forthcoming Leaders’ Summit in Japan, the PMO added.

Joint Statement by Leaders

A joint readout of the call said that the leaders had reaffirmed their dedication to the Quad as a mechanism to promote regional stability and prosperity.

The Quad leaders discussed the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and assessed its broader implications, the statement said.

"They agreed to stand up a new humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mechanism which will enable the Quad to meet future humanitarian challenges in the Indo-Pacific and provide a channel for communication as they each address and respond to the crisis in Ukraine," it added.

Meanwhile, Japanese PM Fumio Kishida said in a tweet after the meet, "We must not allow unilateral changes in the status quo, such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, even in the Indo-Pacific region. The realisation of a 'free and open Indo-Pacific' is important. We have agreed to work closely together for the success of the next Summit in Tokyo in the coming months."

Quad Meeting Amid Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The leaders last met in September 2021 in Washington DC.

On 11 February, the four countries part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue met in Melbourne. The four foreign ministers – S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japan's Yoshimasa Hayashi, and Australia's Marise Payn – deliberated on China's role in the Indo-Pacific and the then looming Russia-Ukraine crisis.

The virtual summit comes against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On Wednesday, PM Narendra Modi also spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and reviewed the situation in Ukraine, especially in the city of Kharkiv, where many Indian students are stuck. The two leaders also discussed the safe evacuation of Indian nationals from the conflict areas, a press release said.

The UN General Assembly on Wednesday approved a resolution demanding Russia to withdraw from Ukrainian territory, 'strongly deploring' Moscow's onslaught of the country.

India abstained from voting against Russia on the UN General Assembly resolution, which condemned the offensive.

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