India on Thursday joined Australia, Japan and the United States for a ministerial meeting under the quadrilateral grouping. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said the military takeover in Myanmar featured in the talks and participants reiterated democratic values for the region. India also emphasised in its statement that the meeting expressed commitment to “upholding rules based international order” and “peaceful resolution of disputes”.
“Our positive agenda underlines our shared commitment to global good. [We] discussed contemporary challenges, especially impact of COVID-19 and exchanged views on issues across the Indo-Pacific,” said Dr. S Jaishankar.
Both leaders referred to the unfolding military crackdown in Myanmar, with the American statement highlighting “the urgent need to restore the democratically elected government in Burma, and the priority of strengthening democratic resilience in the broader region”. Significantly, the U.S. statement referred Myanmar as Burma, the name that Naypyitaw had stopped using since 1989 after a brutal crackdown against the democratic movement.
“In the discussion pertaining to recent developments in Myanmar, the upholding of rule of law and the democratic transition was reiterated by India,” said the Ministry of External Affairs.
The meeting was held in the backdrop of the ongoing withdrawal of Chinese forces from positions along the Line of Actual Control but the months-long military tension did not find mention in the read outs. “The Ministers emphasised their commitment to upholding a rules-based international order, underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation in the international seas and peaceful resolution of disputes,” said the Ministry.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and his Australian counterpart Marise Payne also participated in the discussion which focused on joint efforts to combat the pandemic. The meeting agreed to enhance access to “affordable vaccines, medicines and medical equipment”.