India on Thursday participated in the third Quadrilateral Ministerial Meeting with its counterparts from Australia, Japan, and the United States in the “Quad” coalition. The countries vowed to uphold a rules-based international order, underpinned by “respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes”.
The remarks were seen as part of efforts among these four countries to counter China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific. The meeting took place in the backdrop of China’s military actions in the South China Sea and along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, as well as Beijing’s crackdown in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
At the virtual meeting, Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Japan’s Toshimitsu Motegi reiterated their common vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, according to a statement by the Indian government. It was noted that the “Indo-Pacific concept” had gathered growing international support, including in Europe.
The ministers also highlighted their shared attributes as political democracies, market economies and pluralistic societies, the statement added.
“They recognised that the changes underway in the world makes a strong case for their countries working closely together,” the statement added. “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.”
Besides this, the ministers deliberated on a host of other matters, including the recent developments in Myanmar, the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and furthering cooperation in areas such as maritime security, supply chain resilience and counter-terrorism.
During the discussion on recent developments in Myanmar, India reiterated its support for the upholding of rule of law and the democratic transition in the South Asian country.
On the pandemic front, the ministers expressed their commitment to cooperate in addressing this challenge, enhancing access to affordable vaccines, medicines and medical equipment, the statement said, adding that India’s efforts at providing vaccines to 74 countries was recognised.