Nobody should doubt the positive contribution of Quad: Jaishankar

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No one should doubt Quad’s positive contribution, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday, saying “major progress” had been made when he and his counterparts from the Group of Four nations visited the iconic ground of Melbourne cricket. Jaishankar on Friday presented his Australian counterpart Marise Payne with a cricket bat signed by former India skipper Virat Kohli during a visit to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here with Payne, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Minister Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa.

“Anyone who doubts that Quad has a positive message and a positive approach should have been with us at the MCG yesterday. I think a major step forward was made when we were able to teach the ministers, Hayashi and Secretary Blinken, the intricacies of cricket , including bowling and how to actually use the seam on the cricket ball,” he said.

The MCG, which has a seating capacity of over 1,00,000, is Australia‘s largest sports facility.

“So no one should doubt Quad’s positive contribution,” Jaishankar said at a joint press conference with Payne after their bilateral meeting and participation in a crucial meeting of Quad foreign ministers here on Friday.

In November 2017, India, Japan, the United States and Australia gave shape to the long-standing proposal to create the Quad to develop a new strategy to maintain critical Indo-Pacific sea routes. free from all influence, in the midst of the growing Chinese army. presence in the strategic region.

China claims almost all of the disputed South China Sea, although Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.

Beijing is also embroiled in a maritime dispute with Japan over the East China Sea. Both regions are said to be rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are also vital for global trade.

“The four of us yesterday, the two of us as well as Blinken and Hayashi, emphasized that we are here to do positive things. We are here to contribute to peace, prosperity and stability in the region,” said Jaishankar, amid vehement Chinese opposition to the formation of the Quad Group.

Minister Payne said Quad is a very complementary part of Australia’s network of relationships regionally and internationally.

She said the grouping aims to help “positively shape our region”.

“We want to build trust and resilience, promote a region where all countries can be and feel sovereign and secure without the threat of coercion or intimidation,” Payne said.

“We have a really practical program, which as evidenced by our support for access to vaccines, indeed more than 500 million vaccines delivered as part of the commitments of the leaders of the Quad on vaccination,” he said. she declared.

Payne said Australia has welcomed China’s development and growth over the years, but will also act in the protection of its national interests as any sovereign nation would.

“What is reiterated in our quarterly statement yesterday on cooperation in the Indo-Pacific is the work we are also doing with ASEAN focusing on the centrality of ASEAN to the region, criteria, the factors that are spelled out in the ASEAN outlook on the Indo-Pacific. Pacific, on the Pacific. This is one of the keys to our regional engagement, our regional partnerships,” she said. .

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), made up of 10 nations, is considered one of the most influential groupings in the region, and India and several other countries, including the United States States, China, Japan and Australia, are its dialogue partners.

India-ASEAN ties have intensified in recent years, with a focus on enhancing cooperation in trade and investment as well as security and defence.

“We have spoken at length about the work we are capable of doing together, and I look forward to continuing this very practical and constructive effort in our region,” Payne said.

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