Leaders of the Quad countries – US, Japan, Australia and India – today unveiled plans to invest at least $50 billion into infrastructure projects in the region over the next five years and a maritime monitoring initiative, which is expected to bolster surveillance of Chinese activities.
In his opening remarks earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Quad has gained a significant place on the world stage in a short span of time, and it is moving ahead with a constructive agenda for the Indo-Pacific region, which will further strengthen its image of a "force for good".
He noted that the Quad member countries have increased mutual coordination in several areas of economic cooperation like supply change resilience, vaccine delivery, climate action and disaster management. "Quad grouping has ensured peace, prosperity and stability in Indo-Pacific," he added.
US President Joe Biden said that Washington would stand with its "close domestic partners" to push for a free and open Indo-Pacific region. "Russia's assault of Ukraine only heightens the importance of those goals of fundamental principles of international order, territorial integrity and sovereignty," he said.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has challenged the principles enshrined in the UN Charter. "We should never ever allow a similar incident to happen in the Indo-Pacific region," PM Kishida said.
Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese also pledged more support for Pacific nations, including aid to deepen "our defence and maritime cooperation".
PM Modi also held bilateral talks with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australia's newly-elected Prime Minister Anthony Albaneson on the sidelines of the summit. The leaders discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in trade, investment, technology, defence, and people-to-people ties among their countries.
The Quad is committed to cooperation with partners in the region who share the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific. We reaffirm our unwavering support for ASEAN unity and centrality and for the practical implementation of ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, the leaders stated in a joint communique.
“We welcome the EU’s Joint Communication on the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, which was announced in September 2021 and increased European engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. We will champion adherence to international law, particularly as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the maintenance of freedom of navigation and overflight, to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the East and South China Seas. We strongly oppose any coercive, provocative or unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo and increase tensions in the area, such as the militarisation of disputed features, the dangerous use of coast guard vessels and maritime militia, and efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activities.
“Individually and collectively, we will further strengthen our cooperation with Pacific island countries, to enhance their economic well being, strengthen health infrastructure and environmental resilience, to improve their maritime security and sustain their fisheries, to provide sustainable infrastructure, to bolster educational opportunities, and to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, which pose especially serious challenges for this region. We are committed to working together to address the needs of Pacific island partners. We reaffirmed our support for Pacific Islands Forum unity and for Pacific regional security frameworks.
“Among ourselves and with our partners, we will deepen our cooperation in multilateral institutions, including at the United Nations, where reinforcing our shared priorities to reform and enhance the resilience of the multilateral system itself. Individually and together, we will respond to the challenges of our time, ensuring that the region remains inclusive, open, and governed by universal rules and norms.
“We reaffirm our commitment to the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, consistent with United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) and also reconfirm the necessity of immediate resolution of the issue of Japanese abductees. We also condemn North Korea’s destabilising ballistic missile development and launches, including multiple intercontinental ballistic missile tests, in violation of UNSCRs, and call on the international community to fully implement these resolutions. We urge North Korea to abide by all of its obligations under the UNSCRs, refrain from provocations, and engage in substantive dialogue.
“We remain deeply concerned by the crisis in Myanmar, which has caused grave humanitarian suffering and posed challenges to regional stability. We continue to call for the immediate end to violence in Myanmar, the release of all political detainees, including foreigners, engagement in constructive dialogue, humanitarian access, and the swift restoration of democracy. We reaffirm our support for ASEAN-led efforts to seek a solution in Myanmar and welcome the role of Special Envoy of the ASEAN Chair. We further call for the urgent implementation of the ASEAN Five Point Consensus.
“We condemn unequivocally terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations and reiterate that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever. We denounce the use of terrorist proxies and emphasize 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 reiterate our condemnation of terrorist attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks. We also reaffirm UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021), which demands that Afghan territory must never again be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or finance terrorist attacks. We emphasize the importance of upholding international standards on anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism by all countries, consistent with FATF recommendations. We reaffirm that in our fight against global terrorism, we will take concerted action against all terrorist groups, including those individuals and entities designated pursuant to the UNSC Resolution 1267(1999).”
The Quad countries also pledged to continue to lead global efforts for Covi-19 response, with a view to building better health security and strengthening health systems.
The Summit in Tokyo is the fourth interaction of Quad Leaders. President Biden hosted the first-ever Quad summit in the virtual format in March last year, which was followed by an in-person summit in Washington in September. The Quad leaders also held a virtual meeting earlier this year in March.
In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence.