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From Covid to terrorism in Afghanistan: What the Quad nations discussed

Leaders of Quad nations also decided to join forces to tackle climate crisis and deploy secure, open, transparent 5G networks

Narendra Modi | Joe Biden

BS Web Team 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Australian PM Scott Morrison and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga before the Quad Summit, in Washington

At the first in-person summit of the leaders of the United States, Japan, India and Australia, a wide array of topics were discussed. President and the leaders of Australia, India, and Japan made a show of unity against China on Friday, meeting together at the White House in a first-ever summit to discuss initiatives to counter Beijing’s influence across the Pacific.

The group is “coming together to take on key challenges of our age, from Covid to climate to emerging technologies,” Biden said Friday at the White House.

None of the leaders mentioned China by name in remarks to reporters. But the point of the gathering was clear.

“We stand here together, in the Indo-Pacific region, a region that we wish to be always free from coercion, where the sovereign rights of all nations are respected, and where disputes are settled peacefully and accordance with international law,” said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Here are the other issues discussed by Biden, Narendra Modi, Scott Morrison and Yoshihide Suga.

Quad to deploy secure, open, transparent 5G networks

Amid growing security concern over misuse of 5G technologies by Chinese companies, leaders of the United States, Japan, Australia and India on Friday agreed to advance the deployment of "secure, open and transparent" 5G telecommunications networks and work to bolster supply chain security for semiconductors.

Discussion at the first in-person summit of the leaders of the four democracies, which are known as the Quad reflected the concerns of the member countries about the concentration of the world's semiconductor manufacturing capacity largely in China and also the hold of the Asian country on 5G networks.

"We have established cooperation on critical and emerging technologies, to ensure the way in which technology is designed, developed, governed, and used is shaped by our shared values and respect for universal human rights," said the joint statement of Quad leaders put out by the White House after the summit.

"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," the statement added.

Quad nations to join forces to tackle climate crisis

The leaders of Australia, India, Japan, and the US in their first in-person Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) Summit on Friday (local time) announced that they are combining their forces to "tackle the climate crisis."

"We have joined forces to tackle the climate crisis, which must be addressed with the urgency it demands. Quad countries will work together to keep the Paris-aligned temperature limits within reach and will pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels," read a joint statement issued by the White House at the end of the meeting of leaders of the Quad.

To this end, Quad, as the grouping of the four democracies is called said it intends to update or communicate ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by COP26 and welcomed those who have already done so. Friday's first in-person summit of Quad comes a month ahead of the global climate summit, COP26 in Glasgow, UK.

Quad countries will also coordinate their diplomacy to raise global ambition, including reaching out to key stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific region.

Quad to coordinate diplomatic, human-rights policies towards Afghanistan

After the first-ever in-person Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) Summit, leaders of the Quad nations in a joint statement said they will closely coordinate diplomatic, economic, and human-rights policies towards Afghanistan.

The grouping in its statement said, "In South Asia, we will closely coordinate our diplomatic, economic, and human-rights policies towards Afghanistan and will deepen our counter-terrorism and humanitarian cooperation in the months ahead in accordance with UNSCR 2593."

UN Security Council resolution 2593, passed under the presidency of India, demands Afghan soil shouldn't be used in any way for terrorism and seeks an inclusive and negotiated settlement to the crisis in the war-torn country.

"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," the Quad joint statement said.

The Quad leaders also denounced 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.

"We stand together in support of Afghan nationals, and call 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," read the joint statement.

Quad countries pledge to donate 1.2 bn Covid vaccine doses globally

The Quad countries have pledged to donate more than 1.2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses globally, in addition to the vaccines financed through COVAX.

In a joint statement, released by the White House on Friday (local time) the countries said that 790 million coronavirus vaccine doses have already been collectively delivered to the Indo-Pacific region.

"In addition to doses financed through COVAX, Australia, India, Japan, and the United States have pledged to donate more than 1.2 billion doses globally of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines," the Quad joint statement said.

"We launched the Quad Vaccine Experts Group, comprised of top experts from our respective governments, charged with building strong ties and better aligning our plans to support Indo-Pacific health security and COVID-19 response," they said further adding that the partnership on COVID-19 response and relief marks an historic new focus for the Quad.

India will export 8 mn Covid vaccine doses under Quad partnership

India will make 8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine available by the end of October under the Quad partnership, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said.

Prime Minister informed fellow leaders of the Quad grouping at their summit in Washington, Shringla said. The Quad countries will pay for the vaccine and India will bear a certain share of the cost, he said.

“This would be ready by the end of October. It would be compatible with our decision to resume vaccine export,” Shringla told reporters. “This will be an immediate delivery from the Quad in the Indo-Pacific region.”

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First Published: Sat, September 25 2021. 14:22 IST