Without naming Sri Lanka, the Quad leaders also resolved to address debt issues of countries in the region
(Left to right) Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Japan | PTI
As a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the Quad nations — India, the US, Japan and Australia — on Tuesday agreed to extend more than $50 billion of assistance to the Indo-Pacific region over the next five years to bridge the infrastructure gaps.
“We reaffirmed our shared commitment to deepen cooperation on infrastructure, which is critical to driving productivity and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. We are committed to working closely with partners and the region to drive public and private investment to bridge gaps,” the Quad leaders said in a joint statement.
Briefing reporters at the end of the two-day visit of Prime minister Narendra Modi to Japan, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said the Quad leaders mentioned that the filling up of the infra gaps had to be in a manner that it did not result in unsustainable burden and unsustainable bouquet of projects.
“The figure ($50 billion) that you saw is a projected figure. Infrastructure cooperation that will flow out of this will precisely address these points — that the projects are sustainable, they are demand-driven, and they meet the specific needs of the Indo-Pacific countries,” Kwatra said.
Kwatra said Modi put forward specific proposals at the Quad summit which could contribute to guiding the grouping’s agenda in the months and years ahead. “Some of the proposals include the need to take solid initiatives in the field of climate finance and sustainable developments; emphasis on the importance of building appropriate platforms for the industry and businesses in the Quad and Indo-Pacific countries to forge partnerships in the field of critical and emerging technologies; formal and informal mechanisms to strengthen partnership among the like-minded countries in the areas of common interest,” he added.
Without naming Sri Lanka, the Quad leaders also resolved to address debt issues of countries in the region. “We will work to strengthen capacities of the countries in need to cope with debt issues under the G20 Common Framework, and by promoting debt sustainability and transparency in close collaboration with finance authorities of relevant countries, including through the ‘Quad Debt Management Resource Portal,’ which consists of multiple bilateral and multilateral capacity building assistance,” the joint statement said.
The Quad countries also launched a new maritime domain awareness initiative, the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA), to combat illegal fishing and respond to humanitarian and natural disasters in the region.
China is believed to have become the world’s largest perpetrator of illegal fishing, depleting global fish stocks and undermining traditional livelihoods of many countries.
Biden hails Modi’s Covid handling
During a closed session of the Quad summit, US President Joe Biden praised Modi for handling the Covid pandemic successfully in a democratic manner. He contrasted India’s success with China’s failure to handle the pandemic, though both countries are of comparable size, a senior official said.