New Delhi: The leaders of the four so-called Quad countries, including India, jointly expressed “deep concern” over the Ukraine war and implicitly criticized China’s actions in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Quad summit was earlier scheduled for later in Australia. But after US President Joe Biden cut short his foreign tour to engage in domestic debt ceiling talks, the four countries decided to meet on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima.
In a joint statement issued after the meeting chaired by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the leaders of India, the United States, Japan and Australia said that they wanted to express “our deep concern over the war raging in Ukraine and mourn its terrible and tragic humanitarian consequences”.
Asserting that the four countries stood for adherence to international law, respect for territorial integrity and UN principles, the joint statement said that they supported “a comprehensive, just and lasting peace consistent with the UN Charter”.
“In this context, we concur that the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons is serious and inadmissible,” said the joint statement.
While not mentioning China by name, the joint statement was clearly taking a swipe at Beijing when it said that the four leaders would “strongly oppose destabilizing or unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo by force or coercion”.
It also expressed “serious concern” at the “militarization of disputed features, the dangerous use of coastguard and maritime militia vessels, and efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activities”.
Calling for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, the Quad asserted, “We seek a region where no country dominates and no country is dominated – one where all countries are free from coercion, and can exercise their agency to determine their futures. Our four countries are united by this shared vision”.