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Quad Nations sign humanitarian aid guidelines on UNGA sidelines

The Quad countries signed the Disaster Humanitarian Aid Guidelines (HADR) in New York on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, a move India called a “timely meeting” amid turbulent times. The leaders of the Quad group, made up of Japan, India, Australia and the United States, signed the framework at a meeting at the level of foreign ministers.

Secretary of State S Jaishankar, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japanese Secretary of State Yoshimasa Hayashi and Australian Penny Wong have signed the guidelines for the operationalization of the Quad Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Partnership for the Indo-Pacific , announced by Quad leaders in May 2022. The guidelines will enable the four nations to collaborate and coordinate more closely, for example in response to climate disasters.

In his opening speech, Jaishankar said the meeting was important as the world is going through a very difficult period due to the impact of the conflict in Ukraine and the escalation of climate emergencies.

“We’ve had the Quad for a few years now. Now we see the global consequences of the conflict in Ukraine.” he said, adding, “We are likely seeing climate events and emergencies on an unprecedented scale.”

“It is especially important that we, the Quad, move forward in the constructive agenda that we have set for ourselves, that we work together to really deliver the public goods,” he said.

Jaishankar said there are other initiatives in the works a little further in the pipeline, such as the STEM scholarship, and they are working on the economic framework and awareness of the maritime domain.

He also welcomed the meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and said such regular meetings are a “good idea” among Quad members and “also in our respective countries”.

He said the signing of the HADR framework is extremely timely today. “I think this is also an opportunity for us to discuss together how to strengthen the UN-led multilateral system,” he said.

In his comments, Blinken said the meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA is proof that the “Quad is strong and getting stronger, strengthening our multilateral cooperation.”

He said the members of the group are well aware that the major challenges “we face, as well as the opportunities ahead, require us to work together more than ever.” “None of us alone can do what it takes to meet these challenges and seize these opportunities. And that’s an inspiration behind the Quad,” said Blinken.

He welcomes the humanitarian aid and disaster response guidelines as the basis for the “nations to work more closely together and coordinate in response to climate disasters,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to explore the many ways the Quad can help us enables us to cooperate. Our leaders set a very important agenda for us when they met. We are following up on much of that work,” he said.

Wong said Australia is committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific. “None of us in this room want to see a region where countries are unable to make those sovereign choices, where one country or one perspective dominates. We know that our region is being reformed, economically and strategically, the four nations will work together to better get through this period of change together,” Wong said.

Hayashi said the world today is witnessing direct attempts to unilaterally change the status quo. The free and open international order based on the rule of law is under threat.

“So, it’s extremely important for us to show our firm commitment to the international community together,” Hayashi said.

The four countries had given shape in 2017 to the long-running proposal to create the “Quad” or Quadrilateral Coalition to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence amid China’s aggressive behavior in the region.

(With inputs from PTI)

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