Delhi: Unlike the G-20, which was tying itself into knots over a joint statement on Ukraine, the foreign ministers of Quad countries on Friday lost no time in reaffirming the grouping's commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, even as it approved the establishment of a working group on counterterrorism. The ministers also vowed to work closely to align and complement Quad’s agenda with Japan's presidency of the G7, India's presidency of the G20 and the United States' APEC Host-Year moment.
After meeting External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi and Australia's Penny Wong, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: For us the future is so much in the Indo-Pacific. Our engagement throughout the region, both through the Quad and in other ways, is as comprehensive and as deep as any time I can remember.’’
Quad ministers attended the Raisina Dialogue after meeting
Following the meeting, the four ministers attended the Raisina Dialogue and spoke largely about the convergence of interests of the Quad member nations. While Blinken and Wong were already in India for the G20 foreign ministers' meeting, Hayashi came specially to participate in the Quad meeting.
The foreign ministers said the Quad is acting as a "force for regional and global good", and it will be guided by the priorities of the Indo-Pacific region through its positive and constructive agenda. They also called for lasting peace in Ukraine and concurred, without naming Russia, that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is "inadmissible".
Blinken spoke on Russia waging war against Ukraine
India has not yet condemned the Russian offensive and has been favouring resolution of the conflict through diplomacy and dialogue. Allowing Russia to wage war against Ukraine with impunity would be a message to "would-be-aggressors" everywhere that they may be able to get away with it too, Blinken said. He also said principles driving the international system are being challenged and even countries beyond Europe are working to support Ukraine knowing the severity of the challenge and its possible implications in the future.
When asked whether Quad is an interim consultative group for the US even as the real action unfolds with its old allies and in the old world, Blinken said the grouping isanimportantplatformtoaddress various challenges facing the Indo-Pacific. Jaishankar said the Quad is offering more choices. "We do collectively offer something different," he said.
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