Today’s story in focus is the Quad 2022 Foreign Ministerial Meeting. Meetings like this should be carefully examined as it has direct relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus.
While preparing for Prelims and Mains during the UPSC exam preparation, you will come across relevant topics such as Indo-Pacific Region, Groupings& Agreements involving India’s interests, QUAD and its significance.
Why in the News?
Recently, the Foreign Ministers of Australia, India and Japan and the Secretary of State of the United States met in Melbourne, Australia for the fourth QUAD Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
QUAD is a test for checking the efficacy of cooperation among its members amid assertive China. Comment
It was the third in-person meeting of Quad Foreign Ministers, following their meeting in Tokyo in October 2020 and the inaugural meeting in New York in September 2019.
Japan will host the next Quad Leaders’ Summit in the first half of 2022.
Highlights of the QUAD Meeting
Here are some key highlights of the Quad Meeting:
Vaccine Partnership: Plans have been made to produce one billion vaccines for the Indo-Pacific region- funded by the U.S., produced in India and distributed through Japanese and Australian networks.
The Quad partners have collectively pledged to donate more than 1.3 billion vaccine doses globally, already distributed more than 500 million, and are producing 1 billion vaccines at Hyderabad’s Biological E.
Maritime domain awareness and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR): Quad Foreign Ministers addressed the regional challenges, including humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR), maritime security, counter-terrorism, countering disinformation and cyber security.
Unwavering supporters of ASEAN unity and centrality: The Quad continue to support the ASEAN-led architecture and ASEAN partners to advance the practical implementation of ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
The Outlook’s principles are fundamental to regional stability and prosperity and will be key to guiding the region’s economic and political future.
Critical and Emerging Technology: Building a safe and transparent 5G network.
The Quad is pursuing work on 5G technology and vendor diversification to maintain a diverse, open and interoperable telecommunication ecosystem through collaboration with like-minded partners.
Climate Change: Quad leaders’ reflected the commitment to cooperate in establishing responsible and resilient clean-energy supply chains.
The Quad welcomed Australia's proposal to host an Indo-Pacific Clean Energy Supply Chain Forum in mid-2022.
Counter-Terrorism, Maritime security and Cybersecurity initiatives: TheQuad denounced the use of terrorist proxies for cross-border terrorism and urge countries to work together to eliminate terrorist safe havens; disrupt terrorist networks and the infrastructure and financial channels which sustain them.
Tensions over North Korea: The Quad condemned North Korea’s destabilizing ballistic missile launches in violation of UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs).
They reaffirm their commitment to the complete denuclearisation of North Korea consistent with UNSCRs.
Other Areas of Discussion Where India Appeared to have Deep Divergences
Russia-NATO tensions over Ukraine and a build-up of Russian troops: While the U.S. and allies have been very critical of Russia, India has pushed for a diplomatic outcome, and was even thanked by Russia for abstaining at a UNSC vote.
China-US tensions on a range of issues from Taiwan and the South China Seas: From human rights issues in Xinjiang and Hong Kong to economic issues. India has joined previous Quad statements that stress a rule-based international order.
Sanctions against the Myanmar junta: While US, Japan and Australia spoke quite strongly about the need for sanctions and holding the Myanmar military to account.
India External Minister said that India is disappointed by the turn of events in Myanmar, its policies are guided by its own concerns over the insurgency, covid, humanitarian disasters etc., adding firmly that India does not recognise “national sanctions”, as opposed to UN sanctions.
The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan: While all Quad countries and other groupings have agreed that the Taliban is no closer to building an inclusive government, nor giving into demands to allow girls back into school.
India remains an outlier when it comes to engaging the Taliban.
India is important for other QUAD nations because only India has the power to counterbalance the aggressiveness of China.
What matters, in the end, is the degree of convergence among the interests of the Quad members.
Watch a relevant video “Recent changes in Indian Foreign Policy” by Ravi Chokkalingam Sir, the faculty for Current Affairs and the member of DREAM TEAM:
About QUAD: The Quad is an acronym for Quadrilateral Security Dialogue comprising India, the US, Japan and Australia. Aim: To enable a regional security architecture for the maintenance of rules-based order.
Further, it seeks to contain a ‘rising China’ and work against its predatory trade and economic policies.
Origin: The Quad was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it, apparently due to Chinese pressure. Finally in 2017, India, Australia, the US and Japan, came together and formed this “quadrilateral” coalition.
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