At the request of Beijing, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar decided to join colleagues from the United States, Japan, and Australia at the Quadrilateral Foreign Ministers meeting in Melbourne on Friday to communicate an important signal to Beijing. The aim is to emphasize on their advancement of a "shared goal and vision" to uphold "a lawful global order, free of the threat of force—one based on mutual respect for sovereignty and independence."
However, following the meeting, Jaishankar took a slightly more complicated and strong position than the multiple other foreign ministers — US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi — on at least two important pointers: the Russia-Ukraine dispute and the Myanmar issue.
In terms of Myanmar, Jaishankar addressed the threat of violence along the Indo-Myanmar border. Recalling a recent event: A Major and his family, including a kid, were murdered in an attack by militants. He also stated that India is opposed to "national measures." The United States has sanctioned several Myanmar army leaders.
He managed to maintain secrecy of public diplomacy on Russia's threat to colonize Ukraine. While Blinken explained that there are "concerning signs of Russian escalating violence, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border" and that they are "in a frame where an attack could start at any time, including during the (Winter) Olympic Games in Beijing."
Payne of Australia voiced "extremely grave worries about Russia's military buildup on Ukraine's boundary," as well as Australia's "massive support for Ukraine's sovereignty and national integrity." According to Japan's Hayashi, Ukraine was highlighted during the discussion of the Quad, and Japan has constantly defended "national sovereignty."
When asked about the recent meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Jaishankar answered, "I would certainly add that, as my peers have noted, we are about something, not against someone else." The subject of Ukraine was also not highlighted in the Quad Foreign Ministers' joint report.
"We remain extremely concerned about the crisis in Myanmar and ask for an end to violence, the release of all those unlawfully arrested, including foreigners, and unrestricted emergency access," the joint report said. We express our support for ASEAN's endeavors to find a solution in Myanmar and encourage the military authorities to adopt ASEAN's Five-Point Consensus, and restore Myanmar to the path of democracy. We want the worldwide community to join forces to put a stop to the brutality. "
Blinken said after the meeting: "I believe it's quite clear that the trends there are extremely, terribly disturbing, and profoundly troubling to all of us." We've witnessed the junta enhance surveillance and violence.
In response to concerns, Jaishankar stated, "I think we all believed in the necessity of the transition to democracy that was taking place in Myanmar." And, certainly, the fact that the government has shifted to a different path affects us all. We all, I believe, fully support ASEAN's attitude towards Myanmar and its initiatives to cooperate. "
However, as an actual territory neighbor, we are worried, and so is India. We have some real concerns about Myanmar that also inform our thinking, including issues about militants killing a Senior Army Commander and his family a few months ago; concerns about COVID and the lack of vaccination on our common border; and concerns about a humanitarian crisis caused by food supply problems.
“So I believe they are also concerns that we keep in mind, and where we are unhappy, we do not follow a policy of national restrictions", he added, adding that the EU does not support US sanctions towards Myanmar.
Hayashi affirmed that the four Quad officials, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will meet in Japan in the first part of this year.
"As we prepare to lead a representative democracy, we will continue to pursue our consistent vision of preserving a legitimate international system devoid of force and violence—one established on mutual understanding, respect, sovereignty and independence, the legal system, transparency, freedom of navigation in international waters, and peaceable dispute settlement," Jaishankar said.
"We criticize the use of terrorist proxy forces for cross-border terrorist activity and encourage countries to work together to completely eradicate terrorist safe areas, obstruct terrorist networks and the infrastructure and financial channels that sustain them, and slow or stop the cross-border movement of terrorists," the Quad statement said. In this context, we urge all governments to ensure that territories under their control are not exploited to conduct terrorist acts and to bring the criminals behind such crimes to justice as quickly as possible.
"We state clearly our censure of terrorist acts in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks," the statement said, adding that "Afghan territory will not be used to scare or inflict damage on any country, to the sanctuary or train terrorist organizations, or strategize or fund terror groups, with such unregulated spaces posing a straightforward threat to the safety and security of the Indo-Pacific."
As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 outbreak, Quad partners have together supplied nearly 500 million vaccination doses, according to the report. They have agreed to provide over 1.3 billion vaccination doses worldwide. We are encouraged by the Quad Vaccine Partnership's strong progress in growing vaccine development and production at the Biological E Ltd plant located in Hyderabad, India, where the goal is to deliver at least 1 billion vaccinations by the end of 2022. Furthermore, we assisted and trained the first batch of quad-supported antibodies in the early half of this year.
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