Quad discusses energy prices, food security, announces bn for Indo-Pacific | Top points
The Quad leaders on Tuesday launched a new initiative for the Indo-Pacific that allows the partner countries to fully monitor the regional waters and announced over billion of infrastructure assistance for the region over the next five years even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the grouping is carrying a constructive agenda and providing new energy to democratic forces. The announcement on the rollout of the Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) and the funding assistance came at the second in-person Quad summit in Tokyo amid rising global concerns over China's increasingly intimidatory behaviour in the region. The key issues discussed at the summit included the overall situation in the Indo-Pacific, the crisis in Ukraine and its impact on food security, energy prices and how the Quad can navigate the pressing challenges in the region.
Quad, a force for good, says PM Modi
In his televised opening remarks at the summit, Modi said the Quad is carrying a constructive agenda for the Indo-Pacific and it will further strengthen the image of the four-nation grouping as a "force for good'.
In the deliberations, the leaders of the Quad, comprising India, Australia, the US and Japan, discussed their respective responses to the conflict in Ukraine and the ongoing tragic humanitarian crisis and assessed its implications for the Indo-Pacific.
"In such a short time, Quad has assumed an important place on the world stage. Today the scope of Quad has become broader and the format has become effective," Modi said in presence of US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese. "Our mutual trust, our determination, is giving new energy and enthusiasm to the democratic forces. Our mutual cooperation at the Quad level is giving a boost to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region," he said.
Biden, Kishida spoke against Russia, but PM Modi did not
Though Biden and Kishida spoke strongly against the Russian attack on Ukraine, Modi did not touch upon the issue.
At a media briefing hours later, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said that there was a "general and good appreciation" of India's position on Ukraine and the leaders also focused on problems that the crisis has triggered in the areas of food, energy and fertiliser.
On the situation in Ukraine, Modi highlighted India’s consistent and principled position on the need for cessation of hostilities and resumption of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the crisis.
What Quad joint statement said
A joint statement by the four Quad leaders said the IPMDA will support and work in consultation with Indo-Pacific nations and regional information fusion centres in the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands by providing technology and training to support shared maritime domain awareness to promote stability and prosperity.
"The IPMDA embodies what the Quad stands for catalyzing our joint efforts towards concrete results that help to make the region more stable and prosperous," it said.
According to a White House fact sheet, the IPMDA will offer a "near-real-time, integrated, and cost-effective" maritime domain awareness picture and it will transform the ability of partners in the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean region to fully monitor the waters on their shores, and, in turn, "uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
billion for Indo-Pacific
It said the new initiative will allow tracking of 'dark shipping' and other tactical-level activities, such as rendezvous at sea, the joint statement said the Quad leaders expressed their commitment to working closely with partners and the region to drive public and private investment to bridge the gaps.
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"To achieve this, Quad will seek to extend more than 50 billion USD of infrastructure assistance and investment in the Indo-Pacific, over the next five years," it said.
The Quad also vowed to expand cooperation in areas of climate change, cyber security, critical and emerging technologies and the space sector and announced a number of new initiatives for the areas.
As part of ongoing work related to critical and emerging technologies, the grouping also launched the Quad’s 'Common Statement of Principles on Critical Technology Supply Chains'.
Quad's other announcements
The leaders also announced the establishment of the 'Quad Partnership on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) in the Indo-Pacific' that is aimed at further strengthening collaboration to effectively respond to disasters in the region.
In his remarks, Modi also referred to increasing cooperation among the Quad nations, notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic.
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"Despite the adverse conditions of COVID-19, we have increased mutual coordination in many areas like vaccine delivery, climate action, supply chain resilience, disaster response and economic cooperation. This is ensuring peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo-Pacific," he said.
Biden on importance of Quad in response to Covid
Biden spoke about the importance of the Quad in responding to Covid-19, partnering on supply chains among others, but much of his remarks focused on the war in Ukraine.
"We are navigating a dark hour in our shared history," Biden said.
"Russia’s brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe. And innocent civilians are put into the streets and millions of refugees are internally displaced as well as exiled," he said.
The US president said the situation in Ukraine is more than just a European issue.
"It's a global issue. The fact is that when you turn on the television and see what Russia’s doing now, it appears to me that (President Vladimir) Putin is trying to extinguish a culture. He' s not trying to hit military targets anymore, he is taking out every school, every culture, every natural history museum," Biden said.
"As long as Russia continues this war we are going to be partners and lead a global response," he said.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the leaders reiterated their shared commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and the importance of upholding the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and peaceful resolution of disputes.
"The leaders reiterated their desire to combat terrorism, denounced the use of terrorist proxies and emphasized the importance of denying any logistical, financial, or military support to terrorist groups which could be used to launch or plan terror attacks, including cross-border attacks," it said.
Kishida opened the summit by welcoming the participants and thanking Albanese for coming to the meeting so soon after his election.
Quad leaders should get together for free, open Indo-Pacific, Japanese PM
The Japanese prime minister said it was important for the Quad leaders to get together to make a "firm commitment" to "a free and open Indo-Pacific".
In line with its long-term vision for the region, Biden on Monday launched the ambitious Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), which is an initiative aimed at deeper cooperation among like-minded countries in areas like clean energy, supply-chain resilience and digital trade.
The prime minister also called for finding common and creative solutions to tackle the economic challenges of the Indo-Pacific region.
In their statement, the Quad leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific and emphasised the importance of fundamental values and principles. They also expressed their commitment to work tirelessly to deliver "tangible results" to the region.
"In doing so, we will regularize the Quad activities, including regular meetings by the Leaders and Foreign Ministers. We agree to hold our next in-person summit in 2023 hosted by Australia," they said.
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