New York: The Quad nations of India, Japan, Australia and the US reaffirmed their conviction that international law, peace, and security in the maritime domain underpins the development and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific and strongly opposed any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo or increase tensions in the region.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and Australian Penny Wong met here on Friday for the Quad Ministerial meeting on the margins of the high-level 77th session of the UN General Assembly.

Ahead of their meeting, the ministers signed the guidelines to operationalise the Quad Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Partnership for the Indo-Pacific announced by Quad leaders in May 2022.

Quad also announced a statement on ransomware, calling on states to take reasonable steps to address ransomware operations emanating from their territory.

In a joint readout of the Quad Ministerial Meeting, the nations “reaffirmed our conviction that international law, peace, and security in the maritime domain underpins the development and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific.” “We strongly oppose any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo or increase tensions in the region. We also reaffirmed our unwavering support for ASEAN unity and centrality, ASEAN-led regional architecture, and practical implementation of ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific,” it said.

In the meeting, the ministers underscored the Quad’s unwavering support for the UN Charter, including its three pillars, and their steadfast commitment to strengthening and reforming the UN and international system.

“The Quad affirmed its support for a UN that solves the consequential challenges of our time and safeguards our shared and interconnected resources. This includes the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” it said.

They said thay are also committed to advancing a comprehensive UN reform agenda, including through expansion in permanent and non-permanent seats of the UN Security Council, so that the Council reflects the current global realities and incorporates more geographically diverse perspectives.

“We underscored the need to address attempts to unilaterally subvert the international and multilateral system, including in the UN,” it said.

The minsters signed guidelines to operationalise the Quad Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Partnership for the Indo-Pacific announced by Quad leaders in May 2022 and said they look forward to the counter-terrorism tabletop exercise being hosted by Australia later in 2022.

“We reiterated the Quad’s commitment to supporting regional partners’ efforts to improve their maritime security and domain awareness. We support the ongoing efforts, in close consultation with regional partners, to take forward the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness.

“We will continue to leverage our collective expertise to support the region to respond to other challenges, such as education and disinformation, as well as advance the initiatives set forth by Quad leaders on health security, climate change, infrastructure, peaceful use of outer space, critical and emerging technologies, and cybersecurity,” it said.

The ministers intend to meet in person for the next Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi in early 2023.

“The Quad’s vision is for a region where the rules-based international order is upheld, and where the principles of freedom, rule of law, democratic values, peaceful settlement of disputes, sovereignty, and territorial integrity are respected,” the statement said.

In his opening remarks, Jaishankar said the meeting was particularly timely because the world is going through a very difficult period, “the global repercussions of the Ukraine conflict, we are seeing climate events and emergencies” on an unprecedented scale.

He said given the turbulent times, it’s particularly important that the Quad goes further in the constructive agenda that they have set for themselves and that the four nations work together in delivering the public goods.

He added that the HADR partnership, which was discussed and finalised in Tokyo, is extremely timely. He said there are other initiatives in the making, some little further in the pipeline like the STEM fellowship and they are working on the economic framework as well as the maritime domain awareness. He added that the meeting is also an opportunity for the four nations together to discuss how to strengthen the UN-led multilateral system.

In his opening remarks, Jaishankar said the meeting was particularly timely because the world is going through a very difficult period, asserting that with the “global repercussions of the Ukraine conflict, we are seeing climate events and emergencies” on an unprecedented scale.

He said given the turbulent times, it’s particularly important that the Quad goes further in the constructive agenda that they have set for themselves and that the four nations work together in delivering the public goods.

He added that the HADR partnership, which was discussed and finalised in Tokyo, is “extremely timely.” Jaishankar said there are other initiatives in the making, some little further in the pipeline like the STEM fellowship and they are working on the economic framework as well as the maritime domain awareness.

He said that the meeting is also an opportunity for the four nations together to discuss how to strengthen the UN-led multilateral system. In his remarks, Blinken said that the meeting on the margins of UNGA is evidence that the Quad is strong and getting stronger, strengthening “our multilateral cooperation”.

He said the members of the grouping know well the significant challenges “that we face as well as the opportunities that are before us, demand more than ever that we work together.” “No one of us alone can do what is necessary to meet these challenges and seize these opportunities. And that’s an inspiration behind the Quad,” Blinken said, adding that this is the first time that the Quad foreign ministers have gotten together at the United Nations General Assembly.

“So, my hope is that this will become a regular feature of these meetings,” he said.

He said the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Guidelines lay the groundwork for the nations to cooperate and coordinate more on, for example, climate disaster responses.

“We’re looking forward to continuing to explore the many ways that the Quad enables us to deepen our cooperation. Our leaders have set out a very significant agenda for us when they met. We’re following through on a lot of that work,” he said.

Wong said Australia is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific inclusive and resilient and to a Quad that is a force for good and which is committed to bringing tangible benefits to the region and ensuring a region that is peaceful, stable, prosperous and in which sovereignty is respected, where countries are free to make their own choices.

“None of us in this room want to see a region in which countries are not able to make those sovereign choices, where any one country or any one perspective dominates. We do know our region is being reshaped, economically and strategically, the four nations will work together to better navigate this period of change together,” Wong said.

Hayashi said today the world is witnessing direct attempts to unilaterally change the status quo. The free and open international order based on the rule of law is under threat.

“So, it’s extremely significant for us to demonstrate together to the international community our firm commitment,” Hayashi said.

In 2017, Japan, India, Australia and the United States. given shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the “Quad” or the Quadrilateral coalition to counter China’s aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region. 

(This story is published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. No editing has been done in the headline or the body by ABP Live.)

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