Quad Meet: India Talks COVID, Myanmar Coup With US, Japan & Aus

India’s efforts at providing COVID-19 vaccines to 74 countries were lauded in the 3rd Quad Ministerial Meeting.

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World
3 min read
Image of QUAD leaders at the dialogue in Japan in 2020. Image used for representational purposes. 
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The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday, 18 February said that India’s efforts at providing COVID-19 vaccines to 74 countries were lauded in the 3rd India-Australia-Japan-USA Quad Ministerial Meeting, wherein the four countries shared attributes as political democracies, market economies and pluralistic societies.

The meeting was attended by Minister of External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar with his counterparts Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, and American Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“The ministers emphasised 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 MEA said in a statement.

“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,” the MEA added.

The MEA further said that the three countries discussed efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and committed to co-operation in enhancing access to vaccination.

“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 recognised and appreciated,” the MEA said.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne also said after the meet, “We reiterated our commitment to deepen Quad cooperation on regional priorities ranging from response to COVID-19, maritime security, infrastructure, supply chain resilience, counter-terrorism among others.”

Payne added that the meeting addressed concerns about climate change and the military coup in Myanmar, affirming the nations’ commitment to its democratic transition.

“The four Ministers confirmed the importance of promoting the vision of a "Free & Open Indo-Pacific" together with more countries for the realisation of the vision”, Japan's Foreign Minister Motegi said in a statement.

Ahead of the meet, the Australian Foreign Ministry had put out a statement saying: “The Quad's positive agenda will enable us to progress cooperation among four Indo-Pacific democracies across a range of areas, including to support the region recover from the economic and health impacts of COVID-19.”

The meeting was held amid India-China’s ongoing border crisis, and Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region and the South China Sea.

Earlier Meetings

Senior officials from the countries had first met in Manila on 25 May 2007 to strategise on keeping critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of influence.

Foreign ministers of the Quad had met in Tokyo, on 7 October, where Jaishankar talked about India’s commitment to a "rules-based international order, territorial integrity, sovereignty and peaceful resolution of disputes”.

In September 2019, the ministers had held a meeting in New York to push cooperation between regional democracies as a response to the growing Chinese clout.

What Is Quad?

A grouping of four countries with a "chequered history", the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, better known as the Quad was initiated in 2007 to uphold strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region primarily through the maintenance of the rules-based international order.

However, its origins go back to the time of the December 2004 Tsunami, when India undertook rescue and relief efforts for itself and the other affected neighbouring countries and was joined by the US, Australia and Japan.

(With inputs from The Hindu Business Line.)

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