ATV Leaders Meet In Person For First Time, Highlight Need For Free And Open Indo-Pacific, United States News and Top Stories

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WASHINGTON – Leaders of the United States, Japan, India and Australia, at the group’s first-ever in-person summit called the Quad, stressed the need for a free and open Indo-Pacific and called for presented ambitious plans for cooperation on the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, clean energy, critical and emerging technologies and space.

Against the backdrop of an increasingly assertive China, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and summit host US President Joe Biden met for approximately two hours Friday, September 24 and then issued a joint statement. .

They said, “We recommit ourselves to promoting a free, open and rules-based order, anchored in international law and fearless through coercion, to enhance security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. of the.

“We defend the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, the peaceful settlement of disputes, democratic values ​​and the territorial integrity of States,” they added.

“We… recognize that our common future will be written in the Indo-Pacific, and we will redouble our efforts to ensure that the Quad is a force for regional peace, stability, security and prosperity.”

The Quad, or Quadrilateral Dialogue, is an informal group dating back to the response to the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. It was only recently that it merged at a faster pace, driven by concerns about China’s rise and intentions.

Mr Suga told reporters that the leaders agreed to hold a summit every year.

Mr Morrison said a “clean energy supply chain summit” will be held next year in Australia to combine the best scientific, industrial and academic knowledge to ensure a transition to clean energy for ” transform the economies of our region “.

Modi told his fellow Quad executives that India would allow the export of eight million doses of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of October as part of the deal the group struck in March to provide $ 1 billion. of doses to the Indo-Pacific, the Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Harsh Shringla told reporters.

The March pledge was stalled after India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, banned exports in April amid a massive increase in Covid-19 cases in its country.

Friday was the first face-to-face meeting between Mr. Modi and Mr. Biden since the U.S. leader took office in January. US officials highlighted the deepening of relations with India, describing New Delhi in particular as a vital partner.

“The Quad aims to continuously expand the areas of cooperation, with education, cybersecurity and infrastructure added to vaccines, climate change and emerging technologies”, Dr Aparna Pande, researcher and director of the Institute’s Initiative Hudson on the future of India and South Asia, told The Straits Times.

“All of these areas are essential and collaboration between these countries would benefit the Indo-Pacific region,” she said.

Friday’s summit came just days after the announcement of a new security pact called Aukus, which will see the United States and Britain in a high-tech defense partnership with Australia. Under Aukus, Australia would eventually be able to deploy nuclear-powered submarines, greatly improving its range and interoperability with US and British forces.

However, officials were careful not to group Aukus and the Quad. “They are mutually reinforcing,” Mr. Morrison told reporters.

The joint declaration also underlined “strong support for the unity and centrality of ASEAN”.

“The work we do as (the) Quad recognizes and respects ASEAN in particular,” said Mr. Morrison.

“ASEAN is a huge and committed relationship that we each have individually, and we are really looking to see the world, and in particular the region, through the ASEAN vision. And so we look forward to continuing to work with it. these partners, ”he added. .

Earlier in Beijing ahead of the summit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned of “exclusive closed cliques” and said the Quad should not target any third country and its interests. .

But security analysts say the advent of Aukus and the rapid evolution of the Quad were actually spurred on by China.

The Quad, plus Aukus, plus US alliances and partnerships, demonstrate a burgeoning coalition to counterbalance China, driven to a large extent by “Beijing’s overbreadth and military and economic coercion,” researcher Dr. Robert Manning principal at the Scowcroft Center for Atlantic Council Strategy and Security, the Straits Times reported.

“Some of the issues highlighted, like technology cooperation, must include other major Asian technology players like the Republic of Korea and Singapore, and also exclude Taiwan, a critical source of technology supply chains.”

“The Quad remains a coalition of four great democratic maritime powers, ad hoc multilateralism focused on function and problem solving, unlike the Asian alphabet soup of institutional multilateralism largely centered on symbolic processes,” he said. he declared.

“The unanswered question is how to translate this balance into a framework for managing competitive coexistence.”


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