New Delhi: In stinging messages to Pakistan and its neo-found iron brother, China, the four-nation Quad has issued a strong statement denouncing 'use of terrorist proxies' and asserted that it would "continue to champion adherence to international law" in blue waters.
The Joint Statement was issued at the end of the first in-person Summit of leaders and nations and governments heads from India, the US, Australia and Japan, the forum called for the "end of violence" and return of democracy in Myanmar and backed "complete denuclearisation" of North Korea.
"Quad is a force for regional peace, stability, security, and prosperity. Towards that end, we will continue to champion adherence to international law, particularly as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the East and South China Seas," the Joint Statement said.
"We affirm our support to small island states, especially those in the Pacific," said the statement after the meet in Washington, which was presided over by US President Joe Biden and was attended by PMs Narendra Modi, Scott Morrison and Yoshihide Suga.
It said: "In South Asia, we will closely coordinate our diplomatic, economic, and human-rights policies towards Afghanistan and will deepen our counter-terrorism and humanitarian cooperation in the months ahead in accordance with UNSCR 2593."
The Joint Statement reaffirmed that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country, shelter or train terrorists, plan or finance terrorist acts, and reiterate the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan.
"We denounce the use of terrorist proxies and emphasized the importance of denying any logistical, financial or military support to terrorist groups which could be used to launch or plan terror attacks, including cross-border attacks," it said.
The strong statement has significance as terror groups and elements in the Pakistan establishment have been linking the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan to foment bigger troubles and terrorism in Kashmir.
"We stand together in support of Afghan nationals, and call on the Taliban to provide safe passage to any person wishing to leave Afghanistan, and to ensure that the human rights of all Afghans, including women, children, and minorities are respected".
"We also recognize that our shared futures will be written in the Indo-Pacific, and we will redouble our efforts to ensure that the Quad is a force for regional peace, stability, security, and prosperity. Towards that end, we will continue to champion adherence to international law, particularly as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the East and South China Seas".
It reaffirmed firm commitment to the "complete denuclearization of North Korea in accordance with UNSC resolutions and confirmed the necessity of immediate resolution of Japanese abductees.
"We urge North Korea to abide by its UN obligations, refrain from provocations."
"We continue to call for the end to violence in Myanmar, the release of all political detainees, including foreigners, engagement in constructive dialogue, and for the early restoration of democracy. We further call for the urgent implementation of the ASEAN Five Point Consensus," the statement said.
The Quad summit, it said, has been an opportunity to refocus ourselves and the world on the Indo-Pacific.
The Quad is committed to working together and with a range of partners.
"We reaffirm our strong support for ASEAN's unity and centrality and for ASEAN's Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, and we underscore our dedication towards working with ASEAN and its member states — the heart of the Indo-Pacific region—in practical and inclusive ways."
It also welcomed the September 2021 EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
Quad countries will also coordinate their diplomacy to raise global ambition, including reaching out to key stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific region, it said.