“In South Asia, we will closely coordinate our diplomatic, economic, and human-rights policies towards Afghanistan and will deepen our counter-terrorism and humanitarian cooperation in the months ahead in accordance with UNSCR 2593. We reaffirm that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist acts, and reiterate the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan,” according to the Joint Statement issued by the Quad leaders.
“We denounce 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. We stand together in support of Afghan nationals, and call on the Taliban to provide safe passage to any person wishing to leave Afghanistan, and to ensure that the human rights of all Afghans, including women, children, and minorities are respected,” the joint statement affirmed in a clear message for Pakistani designs.
“Our four nations met for the first time after the 2004 Tsunami to help the Indo-Pacific region. Today, when the world is fighting against COVID-19 pandemic, we have come here once again as Quad for the welfare of humanity,” PM Narendra Modi said in his initial remarks. “Our Quad vaccine initiative will greatly help the Indo-Pacific countries,” he said.
The Prime Minister added he was “confident that our participation in Quad will establish peace and prosperity in the world.”
Quad leaders at their first in-person summit shared perspectives on the situation in
Afghanistan and the challenges in
Indo-Pacific, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said following the Summit.
Speaking at a special briefing after the Quad leaders’ meeting in Washington, Shringla said that the leaders also discussed a common approach to emerging technologies, cybersecurity and addressing the challenge of climate change.
They shared perspectives on the situation in Afghanistan, the emerging challenges in South Asia and Indo-Pacific and reaffirmed their commitment to work together to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and work towards preventing the other pandemics that would come in the future. Evolving a common approach to emerging technologies, cybersecurity and addressing the challenge of climate change was something that the leaders discussed,” Shringla said.
Shringla said that Pakistan has really been in many senses instigator of some of the problems India is dealing with in our neighbourhood and beyond.
“Both in bilateral discussions and in Quad summit, there was a clear sense that more careful look, examination and monitoring Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s role on the issue of terrorism had to be kept and certainly whether it is Quad or other partners had to keep track to that factor, an important factor that sometimes gets overlooked when you see Pakistan projecting itself as a facilitator whether it has really been in many sense instigator of some of the problems we are dealing with in our neighbourhood and beyond,” he said.
India and the United States have expressed concern over Islamabad’s role in Afghanistan, said Shringla adding that the two sides underscored the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan.
“I think there was clear concern in that regard on Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan and their continuing for a certain approach that did not seem to be conducive to the international community expectations of what Afghanistan should be like,” he said.
Stability in the Indo-Pacific region also figured prominently at the Summit as evident from the joint statement. “We also recognize that our shared futures 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. Towards that end, we will continue to champion adherence to international law, particularly as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the East and South China Seas.”
The joint statement issued following the Summit held in the White House emphasised, “We stand for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity of states.”
The Quad also backed ASEAN centrality and EU Indo-Pacific strategy. “We reaffirm our strong support for ASEAN’s unity and centrality and for ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, and we underscore our dedication towards working with ASEAN and its member states—the heart of the Indo-Pacific region—in practical and inclusive ways. We also welcome the September 2021 EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.”
Vaccine manufacturing and distribution also figured prominently at the Summit. “Thanks to the Quad Vaccine Partnership’s financing of increased manufacturing capacity at Biological E LTD, additional production in India will come on line later this year. In line with our March announcement, and recognizing the continuing global supply gap, we will ensure this expanded manufacturing is exported for the Indo-Pacific and the world, and we will coordinate with key multilateral initiatives, such as the COVAX Facility, to procure proven safe, effective and quality-assured COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries. We also recognize the importance of open and secure supply chains for vaccine production,” according to the joint statement.
The Quad leaders welcome Biological E LTD’s production, including through our Quad investments, of at least one billion safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022. Today, we are proud to announce an initial step towards that supply that will immediately help the Indo-Pacific and the world to end the pandemic.
Japan will continue to help regional partners purchase vaccines through $3.3 billion of COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan. Australia will deliver $212 million in grant aid to purchase vaccines for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. In addition, Australia will allocate $219 million to support last-mile vaccine rollouts and lead in coordinating the Quad’s last-mile delivery efforts in those regions.
The Quad launched key initiatives across diverse sectors. “We are also launching today Quad Principles on Technology Design, Development, Governance, and Use that we hope will guide not only the region but the world towards responsible, open, high-standards innovation,” the joint statement announced.
“Today, we begin new cooperation in cyber space and pledge to work together to combat cyber threats, promote resilience, and secure our critical infrastructure. In space we will identify new collaboration opportunities and share satellite data for peaceful purposes such as monitoring climate change, disaster response and preparedness, sustainable uses of oceans and marine resources, and on responding to challenges in shared domains. We will also consult on rules, norms, guidelines and principles for ensuring the sustainable use of outer space.”
“We are proud to begin a new chapter of educational and people-to-people cooperation as we inaugurate the Quad Fellowship. Stewarded by Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative, and with generous support from Accenture, Blackstone, Boeing, Google, Mastercard, and Western Digital this pilot fellowship program will provide 100 graduate fellowships to leading science, technology, engineering, and mathematics graduate students across our four countries. Through the Quad Fellowship, our next generation of STEM talent will be prepared to lead the Quad and other like-minded partners towards the innovations that will shape our shared future,” the leaders noted.
In his opening remarks, US President Joe Biden said the four democracies – the US, India, Australia and Japan – have come together to take on common challenges from Covid to climate. “We know how to get things done and are up to the challenge,” he said.
The Australian Prime Minister said the Indo-Pacific region should be free from coercion and disputes should be solved in accordance with international law. “The Indo-Pacific has great challenges and challenges have to be overcome. In six months from the last meeting so much has been accomplished. We stand here together in the Info Pacific region,” he said.