Top diplomats at Quad seek to bolster cooperation for free, open Indo-Pacific




New Delhi [India], February 11 (ANI): Australia is set to host India, Japan and the United States for the fourth Quad Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Melbourne on Friday and the top diplomats are seeking to bolster cooperation in areas including economy, security, coronavirus pandemic and free and open Indo-Pacific.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is a partnership of four nations, each of whom shares a commitment to openness, transparency and challenges coming out of the current global order.

This is the first time Quad Foreign Ministers are meeting since the two Quad Summits last year. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne will be joining Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar, Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa, and United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss the positive and ambitious agenda of the Quad.

They will be discussing ongoing Quad cooperation in their bilateral phone calls and meetings. Since there is a robust bilateral cooperation between the four countries, they are building on their institutional linkages to further Quad cooperation in areas such as healthcare, infrastructure, space, education etc.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, who will host the four ministers, said that is looking forward to welcoming foreign ministers of all four countries to discuss our positive and ambitious agenda in support of a secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

"Together we are a vital network of liberal democracies committed to practical cooperation and to ensuring all Indo-Pacific nations, large and small, are able to make their own strategic decisions, free from coercion," Payne was quoted as saying in the Australian government press release.

"We will continue to work to deepen this practical cooperation, including to support our region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. We will discuss our work together on vaccine distribution in our region, cyber and critical technology, countering disinformation, counterterrorism, maritime security, humanitarian and disaster response, and climate change," she added.

Payne said that Quad partners will continue to champion ASEAN’s centrality for the region’s stability and prosperity, including by supporting the practical implementation of ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.

This is the third in-person meeting of Quad Foreign Ministers, following Tokyo in October 2020 and the inaugural meeting in New York City in September 2019. Ministers last met virtually in February 2021.

External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar will participate in the 4th Quad Foreign Ministers’ meeting on February 11 in Melbourne.

Jaishankar will be paying an official visit to Australia from February 10-13 at the invitation of his Australian counterpart Marise Payne, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a release.

The MEA said that this will be his first visit as External Affairs Minister to Australia. (ANI)