Dear Friends, 

This is your host Sangeeta Saxena, Editor Aviation & Defence Universe continuing with the QUAD Foreign Ministers joint declaration on the side lines of the G-20 Foreign Ministers meet. Another subject of universal concern , which is primary on the agenda here too is terrorism.

As expected the ministers unequivocally condemned terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations. They denounced the use of terrorist proxies and emphasized the importance of denying any logistical, financial or military support to terrorist organizations which could be used to launch or plan terrorist attacks, including transnational and cross-border attacks. They said and I quote, “We reiterate our condemnation of terrorist attacks, including 26/11 Mumbai, which claimed lives of citizens from all Quad countries, and Pathankot attacks. We are committed to working together with our regional and international partners to promote accountability for the perpetrators of such terrorist attacks, including through designations by the UN Security Council 1267 Sanctions Committee. In this regard, we express our concern at attempts to politicise the working of the UNSC Sanctions Regimes and call on all states to maintain the transparent, objective and evidence based working methods of UNSC Sanctions Committees.”

The Ministers noted with deep concern that terrorism has become increasingly diffuse, aided by terrorists’ adaptation to, and the use of emerging and evolving technologies such as unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and the internet, including social media platforms for recruitment and incitement to commit terrorist acts, as well as for the financing, planning, and preparation of terrorist activities. They welcomed the focused discussions on these themes at the Quad Counter-Terrorism Policy Meeting and tabletop exercise hosted by Australia in October 2022.

They announced  the establishment of Quad Working Group on Counter-Terrorism, which will explore cooperation amongst the Quad, and with Indo-Pacific partners, to counter new and emerging forms of terrorism, radicalization to violence and violent extremism. Its first meeting will be in the United States in 2023.

They strongly emphasised the importance of maintaining peace, stability and prosperity and expressed deep concern at the deteriorating situation in Myanmar. They said and I quote, “ In this regard, we emphasise the need for complete cessation of violence, the release of all those arbitrarily detained, resolution of issues through dialogue, unhindered humanitarian access and transition to an inclusive, federal democratic system in Myanmar. Towards this, we reaffirm our consistent support to the ASEAN-led efforts, including the work of the ASEAN Chair and Office of the Special Envoy, and call for the full implementation of ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus. We also encourage the international community to work together in a pragmatic and constructive way towards resolving the crisis in Myanmar.”

The four ministers strongly condemned North Korea’s destabilising ballistic missile launches, including the launch of yet another Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) on February 18, 2023 in violation of UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs). They reaffirmed their commitment to the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and urge North Korea to comply with its obligations under UNSCRs. They reconfirmed the necessity of immediate resolution of the abductions issue. They stressed the importance of addressing proliferation of nuclear and missile technologies related to North Korea in the region and beyond.

Shifting their attention to the Russian operation  in Ukraine they said and I quote, “ We continued to discuss our responses to the conflict in Ukraine and the immense human suffering it is causing, and concurred that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. We underscored the need for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine in accordance with international law, including the UN Charter. We emphasised that the rules-based international order must respect sovereignty, territorial integrity, transparency and peaceful resolution of disputes.”

QUAD’s  agenda which is security of the world will be aligned well with Japan’s Presidency of the G7, India’s Presidency of the G20 and the United States’ APEC host year in 2023, they reiterated. And friends we wrap this session here and ADU will return with its podcasts on the region which is the cynosure of all eyes the Indo-Pacific.