Tue, 05 Dec 2023

New York [US], September 22 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his counterparts from Australia, Japan and the US State Secretary, Antony Blinken on Friday reiterated their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive and resilient.

The QUAD Foreign ministers met for a follow-up on the Quad Leaders' Vision that was outlined in Hiroshima on May 20, 2023. The foreign ministers gathered in New York on the fringes of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly to debate how to advance it.

According to the QUAD Foreign Ministers' Joint Readout, "The Secretary of State of the United States and the Foreign Ministers of Australia, India, and Japan, met in New York City during the 78th United Nations General Assembly to reaffirm our unwavering support for the United Nations, the enduring importance of upholding mutually determined rules, norms, and standards, and to deepen Quad cooperation in the international system."The ministers reaffirmed their unwavering dedication to an inclusive, free, and open Indo-Pacific region.

"The Quad reiterates its steadfast commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive and resilient. We recommit to advancing the vision Quad leaders articulated in Hiroshima on 20 May 2023: a region that is peaceful and prosperous, stable and secure, free from intimidation and coercion, and where disputes are settled in accordance with international law," they said.

"We strongly support the principles of freedom, the rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and peaceful settlement of disputes; and oppose unilateral attempts to change the status quo. We seek to maintain and strengthen stability in the Indo-Pacific, where competition is managed responsibly," the statement added.

Moreover, the foreign ministers underscored how the maritime domain underpins the development and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific.

"We reaffirm our conviction that international law, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the maintenance of peace and security in the maritime domain underpin the development and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. We emphasize that disputes should be resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law, without threat or use of force," the joint Readout of the Quad Foreign Ministers' Meeting read.

The increasingly assertive behaviour of China in the Indo-Pacific region has become a cause of worry for the US, Japan and Australia as well.

Notably, the issue of Indo-Pacific has been raised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well in various instances.

In his address to the 20th ASEAN Summit in Indonesia, PM Modi highlighted the shared values, regional integration and shared beliefs in peace that unite India and the ASEAN.

"Our history and geography unite India and ASEAN. Along with it, our shared values, regional integration, and our shared belief in peace, prosperity and a multipolar world also unite us. ASEAN is the central pillar of India's Act East Policy. India supports ASEAN's outlook on ASEAN-India centrality and Indo-Pacific," PM Modi said in his address in Hindi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a 12-step initiative in the third Forum For India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit held on May 21 in Papua New Guinea.

Amid intensifying US-China strategic competition in the South Pacific, India's positive engagement on a neutral and constructive agenda in the region would not only set a trend of development cooperation with the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) but also ease geopolitical tensions.

China's increased activism in the region has brewed suspicion regarding its hegemonistic intents in the region as seen in the South China Sea. (ANI)

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