The Quad foreign ministers met on Friday to discuss the comprehensive review of the Indo-Pacific situation. The Quad consists of four countries which include India, Australia, the US, and Japan.
The meeting was officiated in New Delhi by Indian foreign affair minister S Jaishankar, and attended by the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken; Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Yoshimasa Hayashi; and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong. In a joint statement after the meeting, the Quad reaffirmed its commitment to encourage a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
The Quad foreign ministers discuss Russia and China
The Quad meeting was held on March 3, 2024, in New Delhi. India has largely remained neutral in the Russia-Ukraine war, whereas Australia, the US, and Japan have openly stood against Russia.
When the Quad ministers met last year in September, their joint statement did not include any reference to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. But in the joint statement for their latest meeting on Friday, the ministers said that the Quad members continue to discuss the Ukraine conflict and that their hearts go out to the people of Ukraine who continue to suffer due to the conflict.
The statement also emphasized that the use of lethal aid, such as nuclear weapons, is completely inadmissible and called for “sovereignty, territorial integrity, transparency and peaceful resolution of disputes.”
The Quad ministers also discussed China and its continued attempt to disrupt peace in the Indo-Pacific region. In the joint statement, the ministers strongly opposed any actions that could lead to increased tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.
Regarding peace and freedom in the Indo-Pacific region, the joint statement read that the Quad strongly supports the principles of freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity, rule of law, peaceful settlement of disputes without resorting to threat or use of force and freedom of navigation and overflight. The statement also added that the four nations oppose any unilateral attempt to change the status quo, all of which are essential to the peace, stability, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.
Yoshimasa Hayashi compares the Quad to the Beatles
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Yoshimasa Hayashi, compared the Quad to the Beatles. He exemplified that even though a part of the group, Paul McCartney could release a solo album. The Beatles stuck together for 10 years and made music together, but the group was more like a “soft group.” Similarly, the four nations are free to make their own choices and policies and at the same time work together in a larger context.
He further added that he can comfortably communicate opinions and ideas without worrying about “those big conditions” with the Quad nations because of the trust and shared values, such as democracy, sovereignty, and freedom.
Hayashi also emphasized that the Quad is a platform for mutual cooperation and that its objective is not to exclude anyone.
Blinken meets the staff members of US embassies in India
Amid the G20 summit and the Quad meeting, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken met staff members of the US embassies and their families in India. He appreciated the efforts and commitment of the American staff and their families living in the country and applauded them for strengthening US-India ties and building up the strategic partnership between the two countries.
The secretary of state also met with women civil society leaders in India. In a tweet, Blinken highlighted the importance of women empowerment and complimented the women civil society leaders’ important work across India in empowering women. He further added that such work “enriches and strengths” both the countries.