Quad leaders express commitment to 'free, open' Indo-Pacific region in joint op-ed

In a rare move, the four leaders of the Quad grouping wrote a joint opinion piece for the Washington Post on Sunday, in which they shared their vision for an Indo-Pacific region that is “free, open, resilient and inclusive”.

The article comes two days after the first virtual summit of the Quad leaders was held. It has been co-authored by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga.

In the opinion piece, the four leaders wrote, "We are striving to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is accessible and dynamic, governed by international law and bedrock principles such as freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes, and that all countries are able to make their own political choices, free from coercion. In recent years, that vision has increasingly been tested. Those trials have only strengthened our resolve to reckon with the most urgent of global challenges together."

The article noted that the governments of all four countries have worked closely for years. “On Friday, for the first time in 'Quad' history, we convened as leaders to advance meaningful cooperation at the highest level."

On efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the article wrote, "Together, we pledge to expand and accelerate production in India of safe, accessible and effective vaccines. We will partner at each stage to ensure that vaccines are administered throughout the Indo-Pacific region into 2022. We will combine our scientific ingenuity, financing, formidable productive capacity and long history of global-health partnership to surge the supply of life-saving vaccines, in close collaboration with multilateral organizations including the World Health Organization and Covax Facility."

On Friday, the Quad countries finalised a landmark initiative under which huge investments will be made in India to create additional production capacities to roll out a billion coronavirus vaccine doses by 2022. These vaccines are expected to be exported to the Indo-Pacific region, seen as a significant step to counter China's expanding vaccine diplomacy.


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