While NATO countries advance to counter Russia’s aggressive posturing at Ukraine’s borders, Foreign Ministers of Australia, India and Japan, and the Secretary of State, United States, met in Melbourne, Australia; for the fourth time recently, to reaffirm Quad’s commitment to supporting Indo Pacific countries’ efforts to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific region to remain inclusive and resilient; in which, states strive to protect the interests of their people, free from coercion.
Over the past two years, Quad partners have collectively provided more than 500 million vaccine doses and pledged to donate more than 1.3 billion vaccine doses globally and further aimed to provide 1 billion doses through facilities in India.
QUAD remains committed to work together to eliminate terrorist safe havens; disrupt terrorist networks; and the infrastructure and financial channels that sustain them. It condemned terrorist attacks on India, including 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot,and urged that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country, shelter or train terrorists; and to the safety and security of the Indo Pacific.
Quad leaders discussed and committed to work for free, open, and inclusive rules-based order, rooted in international law that protects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of regional countries. They reaffirmed their commitment to uphold and strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization at its core, and oppose coercive economic policies and practices that run counter to this system.
Quad Leaders committed to work in key areas, such as, Quad Vaccine Partnership, climate change, cyber security, infrastructure, and the peaceful use of outer space, education, and critical and emerging technologies.
They reaffirmed ASEAN efforts to seek a solution in Myanmar and call on the military regime to urgently implement ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus and swiftly return Myanmar to the path of democracy. At the Quad summit, the four member countries acknowledged the centrality of ASEAN countries to the larger Indo-Pacific strategy and presented the democratic grouping as an alternative to authoritarian China, for close economic and security partnerships.
Quad is further engaging the ASEAN countries with Djakarta and Manila, the keys to Indo-Pacific security. US had already approved the sale of F-15 EX fighters to Indonesia; India is ready to equip Djakarta with supersonic BrahMos anti-ship cruise missiles.
Indonesia, the Philippines, and Japan virtually control all the ingress routes to the South China Sea and present a deterrent to the increasingly aggressive and rapidly growing Chinese PLA Navy. Indonesia is also buying 42 Rafale F-4 fighters from France and is on its way to becoming the most powerful Air Force in Southeast Asia.
In Europe, fearing invasion by Russia, US has already dispatched three thousand of its force to Germany, Poland and Romania over Ukraine and several NATO members are also preparing to send arms and troops to countries bordering Russia. However, it’s not just Russian troop movements that are setting off alarm bells recently. A large naval buildup in the Black and Mediterranean seas has created another threat to Ukraine near Crimea. Biden has warned Russia of grave consequences and un-repairable economic loss if it invades Ukraine.