Quad countries denounce terrorism, recommit to free, open Indo-Pacific, announce new initiatives

TNN Bureau. Updated: 9/25/2021 11:52:58 AM Top Stories

Washington, Sep25: The Quad countries of India, US, Australia and Japan, on Friday reaffirmed that Afghan territory should not be used for terrorism against any other country and denounced the use of terrorist proxies and support for terror groups, while also recommitting themselves to promoting a free, open, rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region “undaunted by coercion” – an oblique reference to China’s hegemonisitic ambitions in the region.

In a joint statement, after the first in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit, the countries also welcomed Indian pharma company Biological E LTD’s production, including through the Quad investments, of at least one billion safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.

The leaders also announced a new Quad Fellowship, with generous support from Accenture, Blackstone, Boeing, Google, Mastercard, and Western Digital – to provide 100 graduate fellowships to leading science, technology, engineering, and mathematics graduate students across the four countries.

In the area of critical and emerging technologies, in partnership with industry, the leaders said they are advancing the deployment of secure, open, and transparent 5G and beyond-5G networks – in another indirect reference to China’s use of 5G tech for spying.

On Afghanistan, the statement said that the countries will closely coordinate diplomatic, economic, and human-rights policies towards Afghanistan and deepen counter-terrorism and humanitarian cooperation in the months ahead in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 2593, adopted during India’s presidency last month.

“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, and reiterate the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan.

“We denounce the use of terrorist proxies and emphasized the importance of denying any logistical, financial or military support to terrorist groups which could be used to launch or plan terror attacks, including cross-border attacks,” it said.

The Quad said it stands together in support of Afghan nationals, and called on the Taliban to provide safe passage to any person wishing to leave Afghanistan, and to ensure that the human rights of all Afghans, including women, children, and minorities are respected.

On the Indo-Pacific, the statement said: “We also recognize that our shared futures will be written in the Indo-Pacific, and we will redouble our efforts to ensure that the Quad is a force for regional peace, stability, security, and prosperity. Towards that end, we will continue to champion adherence to international law, particularly as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the East and South China Seas” – a reference to China’s increasing sway in the mineral-rich seas.

The countries recommitted to promoting a free, open, rules-based order, rooted in international law and undaunted by coercion, to bolster security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. “We stand for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity of states” – again a tacit reference to China’s encroaching on territorial areas of countries.

The Quad reaffirmed strong support for ASEAN’s unity and centrality and for ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and also welcomed the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific announced earlier this month.

On vaccines, it said that in addition to the doses financed through COVAX, the Quad countries have pledged to donate more than 1.2 billion doses globally of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. “And to date, we have delivered nearly 79 million safe, effective, and quality-assured vaccine doses to countries in the Indo-Pacific as part of those commitments.”

On the Telangana-based pharma company, it said that “thanks to the Quad Vaccine Partnership’s financing of increased manufacturing capacity at Biological E LTD, additional production in India will come on line later this year”.

“In line with our March announcement, and recognizing the continuing global supply gap, we will ensure this expanded manufacturing is exported for the Indo-Pacific and the world, and we will coordinate with key multilateral initiatives, such as the COVAX Facility, to procure proven safe, effective and quality-assured COVID-19 vaccines for low- and middle-income countries. We also recognize the importance of open and secure supply chains for vaccine production.”

The Quad leaders welcomed Biological E LTD’s production, including through our Quad investments, of at least one billion safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022. The Quad also welcomed India’s announcement to resume exports of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, including to COVAX, beginning in October 2021.

The Quad said they will conduct a joint pandemic-preparedness tabletop or exercise in 2022.

On climate change, the Quad countries pledged to work together to keep the Paris-aligned temperature limits within reach and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

On 5G, it said: “In partnership with industry, we are advancing the deployment of secure, open, and transparent 5G and beyond-5G networks, and working with a range of partners to foster innovation and promote trustworthy vendors and approaches such as Open-RAN. Acknowledging the role of governments in fostering an enabling environment for 5G diversification, we will work together to facilitate public-private cooperation and demonstrate in 2022 the scalability and cybersecurity of open, standards-based technology.”

It also announced the launch of a Quad Principles on Technology Design, Development, Governance, and Use to guide not only the region but the world towards responsible, open, high-standards innovation.

They also announced a new Quad infrastructure partnership under which the countries will promote sustainable infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific. “We emphasize the importance of supporting open, fair, and transparent lending practices in line with international rules and standards for major creditor countries, including on debt sustainability and accountability, and call on all creditors to adhere to these rules and standards,” it said, in reference to China’s debt-trap policy under its ambitious Belt Road Initiative.

The countries announced new cooperation in cyber space and pledged to work together to combat cyber threats. In space the countries will identify new collaboration opportunities and share satellite data for peaceful purposes.

It called on North Korea to engage in substantive dialogue and called for an end to violence in Myanmar and the release of all political detainees, including foreigners, and for engagement in constructive dialogue.

It said that the Quad leaders and foreign ministers will meet annually and senior officials will meet regularly. The Quad working groups will continue their steady tempo to produce the cooperation necessary to build a stronger region.

“At a time that tests us all, our commitment to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific is firm, and our vision for this partnership remains ambitious and far-reaching. With steadfast cooperation, we rise to meet this moment, together.”

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