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Tue. Mar 28th, 2023
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NEW DELHI: India hasn’t condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine yet, but it joined other Quad nations Friday in concurring that the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is “inadmissible” and in calling for “just” peace, as US secretary of state Antony Blinken said aggressors can’t be allowed to get away with their actions.
In addressing Russia’s alleged use of nuclear coercion, the Quad foreign ministers, including Japan’s Yoshimasa Hayashi who travelled to India for the ministerial after having skipped the G20 meeting, for the first time referred to the Ukraine issue in a Quad foreign ministers’ joint statement. The leaders’ statement after the Tokyo summit last year did touch upon Ukraine in a joint document though.
In a message to China, the Quad strongly opposed any unilateral action meant to change the status quo or increase tensions in the South and East China Seas, while reaffirming commitment for a free, open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific. Amid China’s increasing influence in the UN, the ministers committed to cooperate to address attempts to “unilaterally subvert the UN and international system, in consultation with our partners and through multilateral and international platforms”.
On the Ukraine conflict, the Quad joint statement also said that the ministers 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,” it said, while expressing concern over the immense human suffering caused by the conflict.
India remains the only Quad country to have not condemned Russia’s actions in Ukraine and it has not always been comfortable with the focus on the conflict in the group. Foreign minister S Jaishankar – who hosted his counterparts Antony Blinken of the US, Australia’s Penny Wong and Japan’s Yoshimasa Hayashi for talks – told a journalist after the Quad ministerial in Australia last year to “go figure the geography”, after he asked him about India’s position on Ukraine, insisting the Quad meeting was about the Indo-Pacific. That was just before Russia launched its military action in Ukraine though. The situation has changed considerably now, with the conflict showing no sign of abating. Blinken suggested last month in an interview that India and China helped prevent the use of nukes by Russia by conveying their “absolute opposition” to any such move.
After the meeting Friday, Blinken said at the Raisina Dialogue, where he was joined by the other Quad ministers, that while the future was Indo-Pacific for the group, they were rightly focused on what’s happening in Ukraine. “If we allow Russia to do what it’s doing in Ukraine, then it’s a message to the aggressors everywhere that they may be able to get away with it,” said Blinken.
Jaishankar said the Quad and the world needed to address three major issues that included a more reliable and resilient supply chain, connectivity and the digital challenge of trust and transparency.
While the Japanese minister denied that Quad was a military group looking to counter and exclude China, Beijing reiterated its position later in the day that Quad was an exclusionary bloc not consistent with the “trend of peace and development”.

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