Quad leaders express deep concern over consequences of Ukraine war

At special meet held in Hiroshima, India, Japan, the U.S. and Australia recognises serious impact on global economic

system; joint statement also opposes unilateral actions that threaten to disturb the peace in the Indo-Pacific region

Expressing “deep concern” over the continuing war in Ukraine, leaders of the Quad countries said that they “mourn” its consequences, and will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

In a statement issued after a shortened version of the Quad summit of India, Japan, the U.S. and Australia held in Hiroshima on Saturday, the leaders of the four countries also recommitted themselves to maintaining and strengthening stability in the Indo-Pacific region according to international law.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. President Joseph Biden participated in the meeting convened by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. They issued a joint vision statement, and three other statements setting out “Quad Principles” on clean energy supply chains, cybersecurity and secure software, and critical and emerging technology standards. The meeting hosted by Australia was held in Japan as the U.S. President decided earlier this week that he would cut short his visit to the region due to the U.S. Congressional logjam over debt default. Mr. Modi announced that the next Quad leaders’ meeting would be held in India in 2024.

“We express our deep concern over the war raging in Ukraine and mourn its terrible and tragic humanitarian consequences,” said the Quad joint statement, “We recognise its serious impacts on the global economic system including on food, fuel and energy security and critical supply chains.” The leaders added that they remained committed to “dialogue and diplomacy” to resolve the conflict.

However, the Quad countries did not directly refer to Russia’s actions, understood to be in deference to India’s divergent stand on the issue, or to the G-7’s statement on Friday that proposed a new set of sanctions and measures to restrict Russia’s economic activities.

When asked at a briefing on the day’s meetings whether India’s increased purchases of Russian oil had come up in any of the conversations, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said, “No”.

Just as in previous meetings, the Quad statement did not refer directly to China, but made pointed references to upholding peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific “maritime domain”. “We strongly oppose destabilising or unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo by force or coercion…. We express serious concern at the militarisation of disputed features, the dangerous use of Coastguard and maritime militia vessels, and efforts to disrupt other countries’ offshore resource exploitation activities,” the statement said, indicating Chinese PLA-Navy’s actions in the South China Sea and East China sea.

When asked, Mr. Kwatra did not confirm or deny whether China’s aggressive actions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the military stand-off since April 2020 were discussed, but said the Quad leaders spoke of “mitigating” regional “challenges” .