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Quad leaders say Ukraine sovereignty, territorial integrity key to peaceful, stable Indo-Pacific

New Delhi: In a rushed virtual meeting Thursday, the leaders of the four Quad countries — US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Prime of Japan Fumio Kishida — discussed Russia’s ongoing on war on Ukraine while agreeing that this also has a bearing on the Indo-Pacific region.

According to a joint readout, “The Quad leaders discussed the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and assessed its broader implications. They agreed to stand up a new humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mechanism which will enable the Quad to meet future humanitarian challenges in the Indo-Pacific and provide a channel for communication as they each address and respond to the crisis in Ukraine.”

PM Modi tweeted that he had participated in a “productive meeting” and “Reaffirmed our shared commitment to ensuring security, safety and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.”

An in-person Quad summit is scheduled to take place in Japan in late spring, but the virtual meeting was held “to discuss the war against Ukraine and its implications for the Indo-Pacific,” the White House said before the summit began, as Washington aims to completely isolate Russia. 

“Developments in Ukraine were discussed in the meeting, including its humanitarian implications.  The Prime Minister emphasised the need to return to a path of dialogue and diplomacy,” said a statement issued by PM Modi’s office.  

The statement also said that the “Prime Minister underlined that the Quad must remain focussed on its core objective of promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. He called for concrete and practical forms of cooperation within the Quad, in areas like humanitarian and disaster relief, debt sustainability, supply chains, clean energy, connectivity, and capacity-building.” 

The US has been engaging with India for a “joint condemnation” of Russia’s special military operations in Ukraine ever since it started on February 24.

However, since then, in a series of resolutions that have been discussed and adopted in the United Nations (UN) against Moscow’s actions, India has chosen to abstain from the voting process that has agitated its strategic partner, the US.

Also read: India’s guarded stance on Russia-Ukraine conflict to create tensions among Quad partners

Reaffirming commitment to ‘sovereignty, territorial integrity’

“I met with my fellow Quad leaders Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Prime Minister Kishida Fumio about Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine and our commitment to sovereignty and territorial integrity around the world, including in the Indo-Pacific,” President Biden said in a tweet.

The joint readout of the calls also said that the leaders had convened this hurried meeting to “reaffirm their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, in which the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states is respected and countries are free from military, economic, and political coercion.”

“They reaffirmed their dedication to the Quad as a mechanism to promote regional stability and prosperity,” it added.

Japanese PM Kishida said, “Unilateral changes to the status quo by force or coercion like the recent Russian aggression against Ukraine are also unacceptable in the Indo-Pacific region. It is critically important for us to bring about a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Kishida also said, “We agreed we will work in close cooperation to ensure the success of our next face-to-face Quad summit, which will be held in Tokyo in the coming months.”

Addressing the Japanese media later, PM Kishida said, “We’ve also agreed this development makes it even more important to work toward realising a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

Also read: Russia-Ukraine war is setting ‘risky’ precedence for Indo-Pacific, EU envoy to India says

Source: The Print

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