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With China on mind, Quad FMs call for freedom of navigation

The four ‘Quad’ members ~ India, Japan, Australia and the US, emphasised their commitment to upholding a rulesbased international order, underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

The four ‘Quad’ members ~ India, Japan, Australia and the United States ~ today held their third ministerial dialogue to discuss rising challenges in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of aggressive posturing by China on maritime issues.

External Affairs minister S Jaishankar represented India at the virtual meeting which was attended by America’s new Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the ministers highlighted their shared attributes as political democracies, market economies and pluralistic societies. They recognised that the changes under way in the world makes a strong case for their countries working closely together. It was important for the international community that the direction of changes remains positive and beneficial to all.

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. “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 said.

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.

They exchanged views on responding to climate change and furthering cooperation in areas such as maritime security, HADR, supply chain resilience and counter-terrorism.

In the discussion pertaining to recent developments in Myanmar, the upholding of rule of law and the democratic transition was reiterated by India. Noting that regular “Quad” consultations hold value, the ministers agreed to continue these useful discussions.