We strive for a region that is free, open, and unconstrained by coercion: Quad leaders


New Delhi: India, Australia, Japan and the United States on Friday (March 12, 2021) during the Quad Leaders’ Summit pledged to strengthen their cooperation and said that they strive for a region that is free, open, and unconstrained by coercion.

According to the joint statement ‘The Spirit of the Quad’ released by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the four countries stated that they are united in a shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific. 

“We have convened to reaffirm our commitment to quadrilateral cooperation between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States. We bring diverse perspectives and are united in a shared vision for the free and open Indo-Pacific,” the official release said.

It added, “We strive for a region that is free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion.” 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Australian PM Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga during the first Quad Leaders Summit collaborated to strengthen equitable COVID-19 vaccine access for the Indo-Pacific, with close coordination with multilateral organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO) and COVAX. 

The four countries also recalled that their joint efforts toward this ‘positive vision’ arose out of an international tragedy, the tsunami of 2004. 

“Today, the global devastation wrought by COVID-19, the threat of climate change, and security challenges facing the region summon us with renewed purpose. On this historic occasion, the first-ever leader-level summit of the Quad, we pledge to strengthen our cooperation on the defining challenges of our time,” the press release read further.

During the first Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) Leaders’ Summit, the US, Australia, India and Japan also said that together, they commit to promoting a free, open rules-based order, rooted in international law to advance security and prosperity and counter threats to both in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. 

“We support the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity. We commit to work together and with a range of partners. We reaffirm our strong support for ASEAN’s unity and centrality as well as the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific,” said the joint statement. 

It added that ‘full of potential’, the Quad looks forward to the future and seeks to uphold peace and prosperity and strengthen democratic resilience, based on universal values.

The four leaders also pledged to respond to the economic and health impacts of COVID-19, combat climate change, and address shared challenges, including in cyber space, critical technologies, counterterrorism, quality infrastructure investment, and humanitarian-assistance and disaster-relief as well as maritime domains.

The joint statement said that the four countries will continue to prioritize the role of international law in the maritime domain, particularly as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and facilitate collaboration, including in maritime security, to meet challenges to the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas. 

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