Quad leaders from Australia, India, Japan and the USA emphasized the need and importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific, that is inclusive and resilient, in a joint statement that was issued after the Quad summit held at the White House. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and US President Joe Biden had participated in the first physical meeting of Quad.
The joint statement issued after the meeting said, “On this historic occasion we recommit to our partnership, and to a region that is a bedrock of our shared security and prosperity—a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is also inclusive and resilient”. The joint statement focused on a wide range of topics from the security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, partnership on Covid-19 response and relief.
Security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific :
Quad leaders recognized their role in the Indo-Pacific region to establish free, open, rules-based order, rooted in international law. The joint statement said that the Quad leaders are dedicated to achieving security and peace in the world, especially in the Indo-Pacific. “We stand for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity of states. We commit to work together and with a range of partners,” the statement said. The leaders also supported ASEAN’s unity and welcomed the September 2021 EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
Partnership on COVID-19 response and relief
Quad Vaccine Experts Group was formed by the Quad countries comprising of top experts from the respective Quad countries charged with creating strong ties and directing plans to support Indo-Pacific health security and COVID-19 response. The joint statement also underlined the efforts and co-ordination of the Quad countries in mitigating COVID-19 in the region. It said, “we have shared assessments of the state of the pandemic and aligned our efforts to combat it, reinforced shared diplomatic principles for mitigating COVID-19 in the region”. The Quad leaders also pledged to donate more than 1.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines globally. India’s announcement to resume exports of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines was welcomed.
Science and Technology (S&T) cooperation
The leaders declared the Science and Technology (S&T) cooperation for clinical trials and genomic surveillance to accelerate efforts and end the pandemic. It also aims to build better health security through the (S&T) cooperation, “We are committed to align around shared global targets to help vaccinate the world, save lives now.”
The statement said that the Quad countries will work together and aim to keep the Paris-aligned temperature limits within reach including efforts to limit it to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The statement reveals that Quad countries intend to update or communicate ambitious NDCs by COP26 along with coordination to raise global ambition. The Quad leaders in this front claimed that the work is organized across three thematic areas: climate ambition, clean-energy innovation and deployment, and climate adaptation, resilience and preparedness.
Cooperation on critical and emerging technologies
Establishment of cooperation on critical and emerging technologies, and determine how technology is designed, developed, governed, and used. Deployment of secure, open, and transparent 5G and beyond-5G networks is also mentioned. Furthermore, partnership to foster innovation and promote trustworthy vendors including Open-RAN is also on the list of objectives.
Cooperation in cyber space
“We begin new cooperation in cyber space and pledge to work together to combat cyber threats, promote resilience, and secure our critical infrastructure” Quad leaders stated the new cooperation to take place which would include sharing satellite data for peaceful purposes such as monitoring climate change, disaster response and preparedness, sustainable uses of oceans and marine resources, and responding to challenges in shared domains.
The joint statement also pointed out close coordination of diplomatic, economic, and human-rights policies towards Afghanistan. Counter-terrorism and humanitarian cooperation measures are about to be taken in the coming months in accordance with UNSCR 2593. The statement said “We reaffirm that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist acts”. It also denounced the use of terrorist proxies and laid emphasis on denying any support to terrorist groups.