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Insights into Editorial: Quad leaders: Committed to free, open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region

 

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Context:

Leaders of the four-nation QUAD have reaffirmed that they are striving to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is accessible, dynamic and governed by international law and bedrock principles such as freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes, and free from coercion, sending a clear message to China which is flexing its muscles in the region and beyond.

Quad leaders asserted that all countries should be able to make their own political choices, free from coercion.

They said the governments of India, Japan, US and Australia have worked closely for years, for the first time in “Quad” history, they convened as leaders to advance meaningful cooperation at the highest level.

 

About QUAD grouping:

  1. It is a four-nation alliance of India, Australia, USA and Japan which was established in 2007. It is often dubbed as an “Asian” or “mini” NATO, and is viewed as a counterbalance to China’s military and economic clout in the Indo-Pacific region.
  2. The QUAD, which used to be known as the quadrilateral security dialogue, is now known as the quadrilateral framework to indicate it has gone beyond a narrow security dialogue.
  3. Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.

 

  1. Members share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific. Each is involved in development and economic projects as well as in promoting maritime domain awareness and maritime security
  2. In 2020, all four QUAD Countries – Japan, India, Australia and the USA took part in the Malabar exercise.
  3. Malabar exercise is an annual trilateral naval exercise between the navies of India, Japan, and the USA which is held alternately in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

 

Aim of QUAD: To ensure that the Indo-Pacific is peace, accessible and dynamic:

  1. The virtual Quad summit took place as China and India are involved in a military standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh since May last year.
  2. China is also engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. In the East China Sea, Japan has maritime disputes with China.
  3. Australia, India, Japan and the US “a group of democratic nations dedicated to delivering results through practical cooperation” coordinated rapid humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to people in need, they wrote.
  4. Now, in this new age of interconnection and opportunity throughout the Indo-Pacific, we are again summoned to act together in support of a region in need.
  5. Since the tsunami, climate change has grown more perilous, new technologies have revolutionised our daily lives, geopolitics have become ever more complex, and a pandemic has devastated the world.
  6. “Against this backdrop, we are recommitting to a shared vision for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, resilient and inclusive.
  7. We are striving to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is accessible and dynamic, governed by international law and bedrock principles such as freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes, and that all countries are able to make their own political choices, free from coercion,” they wrote.
  8. The four leaders asserted that in recent years, that vision has increasingly been tested and those trials have only strengthened their resolve to reckon with the most urgent of global challenges together.
  9. It is clear that climate change is both a strategic priority and an urgent global challenge, including for the Indo-Pacific region.
  10. That’s why we will work together and with others to strengthen the Paris agreement, and enhance the climate actions of all nations.

 

Billion coronavirus vaccine doses exports by India by 2022:

  1. On their commitment to fight against the coronavirus pandemic, they said, it is among the greatest risks to health and economic stability in recent history, and the QUAD nations must work in partnership to stop it in its tracks.
  2. With an unwavering commitment to the health and safety of our people, we are determined to end the COVID-19 pandemic because no country will be safe so long as the pandemic continues.
  3. QUAD countries launched an ambitious effort to help end COVID-19. Together, we pledge to expand and accelerate production in India of safe, accessible and effective vaccines.
  4. They will partner at each stage to ensure that vaccines are administered throughout the Indo-Pacific region into 2022.
  5. The Quad finalised a landmark initiative under which huge investments will be made in India to create additional production capacities to roll out a billion coronavirus vaccine doses by 2022 for exports to the Indo-Pacific region, seen as a significant step to counter China’s expanding vaccine diplomacy.
  6. We will combine our scientific ingenuity, financing, formidable productive capacity and long history of global-health partnership to surge the supply of life-saving vaccines, in close collaboration with multilateral organizations including the WHO and COVAX Facility.

 

Conclusion:

The Quad leaders in the summit vowed to strive for a “free, open and inclusive” region unconstrained by “coercion”.

Emphasising that the Quad nations foundations of democracy and a commitment to engagement unite them, the four leaders concluded saying, “We know we can provide for the safety and prosperity of our people at home by confronting global crises together, with purpose and resolve.

To strengthen their quest for a region that is open and free, QUAD leaders have agreed to partner to address the challenges presented by new technologies and collaborate to set the norms and standards that govern the innovations of the future.

We summon from tragedy the strength and resilience to unify and overcome. And we recommit ourselves, once again, to an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, secure and prosperous.”