The Quad leaders highlighted in their joint statement that they have convened in just over a year's time for the fourth time to discuss their shared vision for the Indo-Pacific region and work on issues ranging from maritime awareness domain and disaster relief to collaboration on Covid-19, preventing future pandemics and climate change.
The leaders said, "We strongly support the principles of freedom, rule of law, democratic values, sovereignty and territorial integrity, peaceful settlement of disputes without resorting to threat or use of force, any unilateral attempt to change the status quo, and freedom of navigation and overflight, all of which are essential to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region and to the world."
While Quad is not a security alliance, the leader also spoke in one voice on unilateral coercion, resolution of the Ukraine conflict, and against terrorism including cross-border terrorism and condemning attacks in India.
Here we list and explain key points from the Quad Leaders' Joint Statement released on Tuesday.
Quad leaders condemn terror, coercion
While Quad leaders did not take any name, the message for Russia, China, Pakistan, and the Taliban was clear.
India, Australia, Japan, and the United States called the for resolution of the Ukraine crisis, opposed coercion in the South China Sea, condemned terrororism including cross-border acts of terror, and reaffirmed that Afghan territory must not be used to wage violence abroad.
The joint statement read, "We denounce the use of terrorist proxies and emphasize 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 reiterate our condemnation of terrorist attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks."
Pakistan has long been accused of using proxies against India and both Mumbai and Pathankot attacks were carried out by terrorist groups sheltered and supported in Pakistan. The mention in the joint statement suggest acceptance among Quad partners of the Indian position on terrorism.
Without naming China, which is accused of coercion in the South China Sea, the leaders said, "We strongly oppose any coercive, provocative or unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo and increase tensions in the area [the East and South China Seas], such as the militarization of disputed features, the dangerous use of coast guard vessels and maritime militia, and efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activities."
Quad steps up Covid collaboration
Noting that Quad countries have so far pledged $5.2 billion to Covax initiative — almost 40 per cent of all donation from world's governments, the delivery of 670 million vaccine doses, and the success of Made in India Johnson & Johnson vaccine's doses, the Quad leaders announced collaboration on preventing future pandemics and health security.
The jount statement said, "In the long term, we will strengthen the global health architecture and pandemic prevention, preparedness and response to build better health security, including by enhancing finance and health coordination and bolstering on-going science and technology cooperation, such as through clinical trials and genomic surveillance.
"Building on existing Quad collaboration, we will enhance our capacity to improve early detection and monitor new and emerging pathogens with pandemic potential, and work to increase resilience to epidemics and pandemics."
An infrastructure push in Indo-Pacific
The Quad leaders announced the group would extend $50 billion in infrastructure assistance and investment in the Indo-Pacific region over the next five years.
In an indirect reference to China's debt-trap model of investments, the Quad leaders said Quad investment would be transparent and sustainable.
The leaders said, "We will work to strengthen capacities of the countries in need to cope with debt issues under the G20 Common Framework and by promoting debt sustainability and transparency in close collaboration with finance authorities of relevant countries, including through the “Quad Debt Management Resource Portal,” which consists of multiple bilateral and multilateral capacity building assistance."
Quad launches climate change plan
Emphasising their commitment to implement and deliver on Paris Agreement and COP26 declarations, the Quad leaders launched the "Quad Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Package (Q-CHAMP)".
The package would work on themes of "mitigation" and "adaptation". Its focus areas would be:
- Green shipping and ports
- Clean energy cooperation in clean hydrogen, methane emissions from natural gas sector
- Strengthening clean energy supply chains
- Climate information services
- Disaster risk reduction, Climate resilient infrastructure
- New cooperation in clean fuel ammonia, CCUS/Carbon Recycling
- Climate-smart agriculture
Quad leaders push for cybersecurity
The Quad leaders acknowledged the centrality of cybersecurity to free and open Indo-Pacific.
The joint statement read, "To deliver on the Quad Leaders’ vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, we commit to improving the defense of our nations’ critical infrastructure by sharing threat information, identifying and evaluating potential risks in supply chains for digitally enabled products and services, and aligning baseline software security standards for government procurement, leveraging our collective purchasing power to improve the broader software development ecosystem so that all users can benefit."
The focus will not just be on protecting governments, businesses, or critical infrastructure, but also on safeguarding common internet users and making cybersecurity solutions available to them.
Quad to collaborate on critical, emerging tech
The Quad leaders said they would align their capacities and vulnerabilities on critical and emerging technologies such as semi-conductors and 5G tech for best-possible outcomes.
"We have mapped the Quad’s capacity and vulnerabilities in global semiconductor supply chains and have decided to better leverage our complementary strengths to realize a diverse and competitive market for semiconductors," said their joint statement.
Quad to boost people-to-people ties
The Quad leaders announced 100 students from India, Australia, Japan, and the United States would pursue graduate studies in STEM fields each year under the Quad Fellowship in the United States from 2023.
The leaders said, "We recognize that people to people ties are the bedrock of the Quad and welcome the official launch of the Quad Fellowship, which is now open for application.
The first class of Quad Fellows will begin their studies in the third quarter of 2023, and we look forward to building together a talented cohort of next-generation STEM minds who will lead our countries in cutting-edge research and innovation."
Quad countries to optimise space resources
The Quad countries will bring together their space technologies to deal with common challenges such as climate change, disaster management, and sustainable use of oceans and natural resources.
The Quad leaders said, "We will work together to create an Earth observation-based monitoring and sustainable development framework. We will endeavor to share space-based civil Earth observation data, along with providing a 'Quad Satellite Data Portal' that aggregates links to our respective national satellite data resources.
"We will work together to develop space applications, including in the area of Earth observations, and provide capacity building support to countries in the region, including with regards to partnering on using space capabilities to respond to extreme precipitation events."
The Quad countries will also consult on rules, norms, guidelines and principles for the sustainable use of space and support to countries in the Indo-Pacific region through joint workshops.
Quad launches disaster relief parternship
The Quad leaders on Tuesday launched the “Quad Partnership on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief in the Indo-Pacific”, which would further strengthen the member countries' collaboration to effectively respond to disasters in the region.
The leaders of India, Australia, Japan, and the United States also welcomed the new maritime domain awareness initiative, the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA).
Of IPMDA, the Quad leaders said, "IPMDA will support and work in consultation with Indo-Pacific nations and regional information fusion centers in the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands by providing technology and training to support enhanced, shared maritime domain awareness to promote stability and prosperity in our seas and oceans."