Quad countries sign Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Agreement

India, the U.S., Australia, and Japan will sign the HADR agreement in view of the Ukraine conflict and climate-related events

India, the U.S., Australia, and Japan will sign the HADR agreement in view of the Ukraine conflict and climate-related events

United Nations

Foreign Ministers of the Quad group of countries – India, the U.S., Australia, and Japan – met on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Friday to sign a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) partnership into effect.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said the world was going through a difficult period – listing the Ukraine conflict and climate events, and said that it was especially important for the Quad to further the “constructive agenda” it had set for itself and work together to deliver public goods. The Quad’s origins have their roots in a HADR partnership in 2004 in the wake of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami. The HADR partnership was finalised, according to Mr. Jaishankar, at the Quad summit in Tokyo in May.

 Mr. Jaishankar said that other initiatives were in the works and highlighted several programs that have been previously announced: a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fellowship, an economic framework with other partners (presumably a reference to the Indo Pacific Economic Framework), and a maritime domain awareness initiative which was announced in Tokyo.

Significantly, Mr. Jaishankar brought up reform of the U.N. system, which has been a longstanding objective of India but has been given added emphasis at this year’s U.N. High Level Week.

“Today, I think this is also an opportunity for us, together, to discuss how to strengthen the UN-led multilateral system,” Mr. Jaishankar said. Earlier on Friday, Mr. Jaishankar had attended a high-level breakfast, ‘Reinvigorating Multilateralism and Achieving Comprehensive Reform of the Security Council’ that included Ministers from approximately 30 countries, an official said, including South Africa, Brazil, Nicaragua, Maldives and Bhutan.

“I think our meeting today – including the document we are about to sign – is evidence that the Quad is strong and getting stronger,” Mr. Blinken said, adding that he hoped the ministerial on the fringes of UNGA would become a regular feature.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong, said the Quad was about bringing tangible benefits to the region and ensuring the region is “ peaceful, stable, prosperous and in which sovereignty is respected”.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, said the world was witnessing “direct attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by force” and that the international order based on the rule of law was under threat. He highlighted the significance of the meeting – a demonstration of the commitment to the UN Charter and a “free and open Indo Pacific”.

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