Quad Eyes Expanding Indo-Pacific Maritime Presence

| Updated: 24 May, 2022 3:33 pm IST

NEW DELHI: With China flexing its muscles in the region, Quad leaders on Tuesday welcomed a new Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness Initiative that will help countries to respond to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief incidents along with combating illegal fishing.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, President Joseph Biden of the United States of America and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia attended the Quad Leaders’ Summit in Tokyo, Japan.

A Quad partnership on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief for the Indo-Pacific was announced by the four leaders to enable more effective and timely responses to disasters in the region. But the move could be seen as a way to control China’s growing influence in the strategically important region.

Meanwhile, PM Modi also called to expedite the WTO waiver under TRIPS for the production of COVID vaccines, medicines and therapeutics in these testing times.

The four leaders welcomed the enhanced manufacturing capacity of the Biological-E facility in India and called for the expeditious grant of EUL approval by the WHO so that delivery of vaccines can commence.

The leaders also appreciated India’s gift of 525,000 doses of locally produced COVID vaccines to Thailand and Cambodia in April 2022 under the Quad Vaccine Partnership.

“To date, the Quad partners have collectively pledged approximately USD 5.2 billion to the COVAX AMC, approximately 40 per cent of the total contributions from government donors. We are proud to have delivered
over 670 million doses, including at least 265 million doses to Indo-Pacific,” the Quad leaders said in a joint statement.

The four leaders also expressed 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,” the Ministry of External Affairs stated further.

The Quad leaders also discussed Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. “We discussed our respective responses to the conflict in Ukraine and the ongoing tragic humanitarian crisis, and assessed its implications for the Indo-Pacific,” the statement said.

“Quad leaders reiterated our strong resolve to maintain the peace and stability in the region. We underscored unequivocally that the centrepiece of the international order is international law, including the UN Charter, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states,” it further stated.

“We also emphasized that all countries must seek peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law,” the statement added.

The Quad leaders also expressed their commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolutions and reconfirmed the necessity of immediate resolution of the issue of Japanese abductees.

During the summit in Tokyo, the heads of state of the four Quad member nations condemned North Korea’s destabilizing ballistic missile launches, including multiple intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

Meanwhile, the Quad leaders welcomed European Union (EU)’s Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and expressed their unwavering support for ASEAN unity and centrality and for the practical implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.

The leaders also announced Quad Climate Change Action and Mitigation Package (Q-CHAMP) to strengthen efforts toward green shipping, clean energy including green hydrogen and climate and disaster-resilient infrastructure.

PM Modi reiterated the importance of assisting the countries in the region with their COP26 commitments through mobilization of climate finance and technology transfer.

The leaders of the Quad nations also reaffirmed their unwavering support for ASEAN’s unity and centrality and look forward to strengthening cooperation with partners in the region.

They agreed to provide countries in the region resources on earth observation data through a Quad satellite data portal to help track climate events, disaster preparedness and sustainable use of marine resources.

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