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QUAD ministers reiterate the importance of free and open Indo-Pacific

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Ministers of the four Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) countries concluded the fourth Quad ministerial meeting in Melbourne, on February 11, 2022.

What is Quad ?

Quad or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is an informal grouping of four like-minded democracies India, Japan, Australia, and the USA.

These four major powers of the world had come together in an informal group with the primary objective of establishing a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.

All these four countries have their mutual interests to establish a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The formation of this grouping is seen as a direct result of China’s excesses in the Indo Pacific region which were disrupting the rules-based order. For instance, China’s aggressive military diplomacy in the South China sea has directly threatened the freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight, which are the rights guaranteed by international laws like the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Highlights of the meeting

The four ministers at the February 11 meeting on Friday, resolved to strengthen efforts to build a “coercion” free Indo-Pacific region.

The ministers reaffirmed their efforts to tackle challenges in the region, which include providing cyber security, counter-terrorism, establishing responsible clean-energy supply chains, and providing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR).They committed to deepening collaboration to provide constructive and prompt HADR aid to the region.

1. Covid Cooperation

The ministers pledged to boost the supply of more than a billion more COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world.

The Quad vaccine cooperation was presented in March last year is known to have made great progress under a Global Action Plan for enhanced engagement.

2. Climate Change

They made a resolution to call for a special meeting on climate change later this year and also brought to focus their attention on maritime security of the Indo Pacific region.

3. Upholding International Law

They also stressed that they believe in strictly conforming to the mandate of international law. They particularly recognized the importance of upholding the mandate of the UN Convention on The Law of The Sea (UNCLOS), for establishing and maintaining the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region and maritime security in the South and East China Seas.

The members also highly condemned North Korea’s missile launches as a violation of international law and United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC)resolutions.

4. Against Terrorism

The four ministers also agreed on intelligence sharing to counter-terrorism and violent extremism.

“We call on all countries to ensure that territory under their control is not used to launch terror attacks and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks”, said the joint statement of the four ministers.

The ministers also added that they highly condemn the terrorist attacks in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks.

These statements made a veiled reference to China in the context of its military diplomacy in the South and the East China Sea.

Differences

Although, there was a consensus on most of the key issues, some differences were reported to have emerged on Russia, and Myanmar crises among the Quad ministers.

China’s Remarks

“QUAD is only a tool to contain China. This is a deliberate move to stoke confrontation and undermines international solidarity and cooperation”, said the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lujan.

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