The Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a group of four countries – US, Australia, India, and Japan) on Saturday endorsed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘not an era of war’ comment in its joint statement.
The four leaders US President Joe Biden, Australian PM Anthony Albanese, Japanese PM Fumio Kishida and PM Modi issued a joint statement after the meeting. The statement mentioned ‘not an era of war’ comment by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which he had made to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in September 2022 during a SCO summit.
The joint statement said, “In this context, today we express our deep concern over the war raging in Ukraine and mourn its terrible and tragic humanitarian consequences. We recognise its serious impacts on the global economic system including on food, fuel and energy security and critical supply chains. We will continue to render humanitarian assistance to Ukraine for its recovery. Conscious that ours must not be an era of war, we remain committed to dialogue and diplomacy,” while expressing deep concern about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
It also vowed to remain committed to strengthening cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.
“We welcome the work of IORA as the Indian Ocean region’s premier forum for addressing the region’s challenges. We recognise India’s leadership in finalising the IORA Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (IOIP) and express our support for its implementation. We thank Bangladesh for its term as IORA Chair and commit to working with Sri Lanka and India as they assume the roles of IORA Chair and Vice Chair respectively this year,” added the statement.
They reaffirmed their steadfast commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive and resilient.
“As Indo-Pacific countries, Quad partners are deeply invested in our region’s success. Harnessing our collective strengths and resources, we are supporting the region’s development, stability, and prosperity through the Quad’s positive, practical agenda. Our work is guided by regional countries’ priorities and responds to the region’s needs. We are and will continue to be transparent in what we do. Respect for the leadership of regional institutions, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), is and will remain at the centre of the Quad’s efforts,” read the statement.
The Quad Leaders’ Vision Statement issued today sets out the shared vision for the Quad and the Indo-Pacific region.
“Today we reaffirm our consistent and unwavering support for ASEAN centrality and unity. We are committed to ensuring the Quad’s work is aligned with ASEAN’s principles and priorities and continues to support the implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). We underscore ASEAN’s regional leadership role, including in the East Asia Summit, the region’s premier leader-led forum for strategic dialogue, and the ASEAN Regional Forum. We strongly support Indonesia’s 2023 ASEAN Chairmanship and its Chair theme “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”. We will continue to strengthen our respective relationships with ASEAN and seek opportunities for greater Quad collaboration in support of the AOIP,” read the statement.
Recommitting to working in partnership with Pacific island countries to achieve shared aspirations and address shared challenges, the Quad leaders reaffirmed support for Pacific regional institutions that have served the region well over many years, foremost the PIF, and warmly welcomed Cook Islands assuming the PIF Chair in 2023.
“We continue to support the objectives of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, and commit to working with partners, including through Partners in the Blue Pacific, to support engagement with these objectives. We welcome the 3rd Summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation and the US- Pacific Island Forum meeting, both to be held in Papua New Guinea in coming days,” added the statement.
The Quad leaders also applauded Japan’s longstanding engagement with Pacific island countries through the Pacific Islands’ Leaders Meeting (PALM), and Australia’s deep and enduring commitment to the Pacific as part of the Pacific family, including as a founding member of the PIF.
They also dealt with the issues of climate change and its ill effects in the region.
“Quad Leaders will listen to and be guided at every step by Pacific priorities, including climate action, ocean health, resilient infrastructure, maritime security and financial integrity. In particular, we acknowledge climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific and applaud Pacific island countries’ global leadership on climate action,” read the statement.
The Quad group planned to coordinate collective resources to support early warning systems in the Indo-Pacific, including through the Pacific-led Weather Ready Pacific initiative and the longstanding leadership of the Pacific Meteorological Council.
“We recognise the urgent need to address the climate crisis, which poses tremendous environmental, social, and economic challenges for our region. Today we underline our dedication to taking significant action on climate change – individually and collectively. We will continue to support climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience efforts in alignment with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement as well as regional architecture, including ASEAN, the PIF, and IORA,” added the statement.
They intended to provide support through global partnerships such as the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) and its Infrastructure for Resilient Islands States (IRIS) initiative.
“We recognise that achieving sustainable consumption and production is a key component of global efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), environment and climate ambitions. We will work together to seek meaningful outcomes on climate action and the clean economy transition in the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF),” read the joint statement.
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report makes clear that rapid and far-reaching transitions are needed across all sectors and systems.
“As we move to a net zero world, we underscore that it is critical to strengthen our cooperation to ensure better access to affordable, reliable and secure clean energy in the Indo-Pacific. We will work together to increase the region’s access to climate finance and climate-smart technology. Under the Quad Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Package (Q-CHAMP), launched in 2022, we continue to work together and with Indo-Pacific partners to enhance climate and clean energy cooperation as well as promote adaptation and resilience. In this regard, we welcome the Sydney Energy Forum and the Quad Clean Hydrogen Partnership meeting hosted by Australia and India respectively in July 2022,” the statement added.
Issuing a Statement of Principles on Clean Energy Supply Chains in the Indo-Pacific, which provide a basis for Quad’s engagement in the region on clean energy supply chain development, it said, “We also announce a Clean Energy Supply Chains initiative designed to accelerate the Indo-Pacific’s clean energy transition. Working with Indo-Pacific partners, the initiative will facilitate research and development and feasibility study projects to lower clean energy manufacturing and deployment costs, enhance regional energy security, and expand and diversify the regional production of necessary materials and technologies.”
Highlighting the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for health security, Quad partners said that they stepped up to help meet the region’s most pressing need, delivering more than 400 million safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses to Indo-Pacific countries and almost 800 million doses globally, bilaterally and in partnership with COVAX in 2021 and 2022.
“Today, we announce the evolution of our Quad Vaccine Partnership into a broader Quad Health Security Partnership. Through this partnership, we will strengthen our coordination and collaboration in support of health security in the Indo-Pacific. We plan to implement a suite of activities to build the region’s capacity to detect and respond rapidly to outbreaks of diseases with epidemic and pandemic potential. These activities include support for health workforce development, disease surveillance, and electronic health information systems and coordination of outbreak responses, such as the Quad Pandemic Preparedness Exercise,” the statement added.
The Quad leaders also underscored the need to cooperate with Indo-Pacific partners to meet the region’s infrastructure priorities to support access to quality, sustainable and climate-resilient infrastructure investments in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Today, we announce a new initiative to boost infrastructure expertise across the Indo-Pacific: the ‘Quad Infrastructure Fellowships Program’. The initiative aims to empower more than 1,800 of the region’s infrastructure practitioners to design, build and manage quality infrastructure in their home countries,” added the statement.
The Quad also committed to improving the region’s connectivity by developing resilient infrastructure.
“Today we announce a new ‘Quad Partnership for Cable Connectivity and Resilience’. The Partnership will strengthen cable systems in the Indo-Pacific, drawing on Quad countries’ world-class expertise in manufacturing, delivering and maintaining cable infrastructure,” read the statement.
They also announced cooperation with Palau to establish a deployment of Open Radio Access Networks (Open RAN), the first in the Pacific.
“We welcome the launch of the private sector-led Quad Investors Network (QUIN), which aims to facilitate investments in strategic technologies, including clean energy, semiconductors, critical minerals, and quantum,” read the statement.
Regarding secure cyberspace and to fostering an international digital economy that works for everyone, Quad partners will continue collaborating to enhance regional capacity and resilience to cyber incidents and threats.
“We welcome the first Quad Cyber Challenge, held earlier this year to promote cyber awareness and empower participants across the Indo-Pacific to protect themselves online. We also welcome the Quad Joint Principles for Secure Software and the Quad Joint Principles for Cyber Security of Critical Infrastructure, and efforts to develop a guiding framework for ensuring supply chain security and resilience. These principles are designed to strengthen our region’s defences against cyber threats to the software supply chain and critical infrastructure and services,” read the statement.
They also recognised the importance of space technologies and space-related applications in responding to climate change and disasters, and enhancing the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources.
Regarding Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA), announced at the 2022 Tokyo Quad Leaders’ Summit, the statement added, “Through IPMDA, we are providing near-real-time, integrated and cost-effective maritime domain data to maritime agencies in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and will expand coverage to partners in the Indian Ocean region in the coming months.”
The joint statement also talked about Quad Fellowship and added, “This year, we welcome the first cohort of Quad STEM Fellows, who will begin their studies in the United States in August 2023. Our one hundred Quad Fellows from all four Quad countries represent the best and brightest of our next generation.”