The first minister-level meet of Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue (“the Quad”) between India, Australia, Japan and the US took place on Thursday, Sep 26 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
The Quad is seen as a bid by the four largest democracies of Indo-Pacific to counter China’s growing economic and political clout.
Significant shift in India’s approach
The minister-level meet is a significant change for India which, till last year, had refused to upgrade the Quadrilateral grouping with the US, Australia and Japan from join secretary to foreign secretary level. India has been hesitant about the Quad, in part because it does not want to isolate China and because it has had a history of staying clear of security alliances. The Quad, revived in November 2017, had so far met at the level of Joint Secretary-rank officials and the Thursday meet upgrades it by at least three levels.
The concept of the Quad was first generated more than a decade ago during the George W Bush administration before it went into a hiatus. Its recent revival reflects growing unease over Chinese President Xi Jinping’s more assertive foreign policy.
Present at the Thursday meet to discuss the Indo-Pacific strategy were India’s External affairs minister S Jaishankar, Japanese foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and Australia’s Marise Payne.
“Thank you #Quad Foreign Ministers @SecPompeo @moteging Aand @MarisePayne,” tweeted Jaishankar.
Pompeo tweeted: “Positive meeting with @MarisePayne, @DrSJaishankar, and @moteging. We discussed our shared interest in building a free and open #IndoPacific, denuclearization of #NorthKorea, and joint efforts to promote regional stability.”
Payne tweeted: “I met today in New York with my counterparts from the US, Japan and India to discuss our efforts to maintain and promote an open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific, and reaffirm our #Quad commitment to shared values and cooperation.”
After this, there has been no official statement from India on the meet.
Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said in an emailed statement: “The ‘Quad’ countries reaffirmed their commitment to shared values and cooperation on maritime security, infrastructure and connectivity in support of rules-based frameworks.”
They discussed efforts to “maintain and promote an open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific”, and agreed to hold regular ministerial meetings, she said.
Issues discussed at the meeting
A senior US State Department official, according to The Hindu, told reporters in New York that the Ministers “met to discuss collective efforts in our shared commitments and close cooperation on counter terrorism, mentoring, assistance in disaster relief, airtime security, cooperation, development, finance and cybersecurity efforts.”
The high-level meeting “demonstrates a shared commitment of our respective leadership to institutionalise this gathering of like-minded Indo-Pacific partners,” a second official present at the briefing said. The official then suggested that “formalise” was a more apt description than “institutionalise”.
On India’s role
The State Department official emphasised India’s role: “If I could single out India’s role in the quad, I think it highlights India’s leadership in the end of the Pacific region. It’s one of the many ways that the U.S. and India are now cooperating closely on shared strategic objectives.”
About what had changed this year with regard to India’s participation, The Hindu quoted the official as saying, “There’s recognition that, you know, in the past we didn’t have that similar like-mindedness necessarily among the four partners and over the past two years, you know, we’ve been able to demonstrate what’s changed.”
“We have a shared evaluation of those security threats and the threats facing the region when countries don’t have options to develop in a sustainable and free manner. And that’s really brought our four nations together,” the official said, adding, “Again, I would emphasise as, one mechanism, one architecture that complements and supplements, you know, other formats that we are all engaged in to promote the free and open Indo-Pacific.”
The Quad countries are also clear about the centrality of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) in South East Asia, the group being at the centre of security and strategic frameworks for the Asia-Pacific region.
Quad and China
Members of the Quad, barring Australia, are currently engaged in the annual Malabar exercises – military exercises that started between India and the US in 1994 and became trilateral (with Japan) in 2015. India has not permitted Australia to participate in these exercises, concerned about what message it would send to China, which is wary of the exercise. The issue was not discussed during the ministerial discussions, reported The Hindu.
The elevation of the discussion from official-level talks suggests the previously informal framework is being strengthened to improve intelligence-gathering and present a united front on regional security issues, with China at the forefront of those issues.
China has been increasing its economic influence, military might and diplomatic footprint in the Indo-Pacific.
According to the Times of India, on Saturday, S Jaishankar confirmed one of the topics up for discussion at the meeting would be Chinese oil prospecting in an exclusive economic zone of Vietnam. India had previously been the main holdout in furthering the group’s agenda, amid concerns in New Delhi that it could worsen ties with Beijing.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in November he sees the Quad as an “important sort of architecture in the region” that can cooperate economically, militarily and strategically.
China has made clear its opposition to the Quad’s “Indo-Pacific strategy”. In March 2018, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the bloc was a “headline-grabbing idea”.
“The four countries’ official position is that it targets no one,” Wang said. “I hope they mean what they say and their action will match their rhetoric. Nowadays, stoking a new Cold War is out of sync with the times and inciting bloc confrontation will find no market.”
The US and Australia, concerned that China may be looking to establish a military base in the South Pacific that would extend its military reach toward the Americas, have been striving to build an alternative model to Beijing’s state-directed lending for infrastructure projects. Those loans have raised concerns that poorer nations, saddled with debt, could be forced into increased reliance on Beijing.
The Quad members aim to finance infrastructure projects that are properly planned and financially sustainable, to increase the possibilities of trade and connectivity – although they don’t have nearly as much cash to offer as Xi’s Belt-and-Road Initiative, which Morgan Stanley says may total $1.3 trillion by 2027.
Hardeep Nijjar killing row: Canada’s defence minister says ties with India important
The Defence Minister further mentioned that if the allegations are proven true, there is a very significant concern that Canada will have with respect to the violation of our sovereignty.
Canada’s defence minister Bill Blair said that his country’s ties with India are important. HIs statement amidst a diplomatic standoff between both the countries. However, he also added that his country wants a thorough investigation into the allegation.
The escalating tensions between both the countries began after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asserted that his country’s security agencies were investigating a link between the Indian government and the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Defence Minister Bill Blair noted that they understand this can be, and has proven to be, a challenging issue with respect to their relationship with India. However, at the same time, they have the responsibility to make sure that they carry out a thorough investigation and get to the truth, he added.
The Defence Minister further mentioned that if the allegations are proven true, there is a very significant concern that Canada will have with respect to the violation of our sovereignty. On the other hand, India rejected the allegation as absurd and motivated.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs remarked that Canada has shared no specific information regarding its charges, flagging politically condoned hate crimes and criminal violence in that country. Furthermore, the foreign ministry has advised its nationals in Canada and those contemplating travelling there to exercise utmost caution.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also claimed that such credible allegations were shared with India weeks ago. He added that they want to work constructively with India and hope that New Delhi engages with them so that they can get to the bottom of this very serious matter.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said that Washington is deeply concerned about the allegations and that they want to see accountability in the case.
Khalistani terrorist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, was shot dead outside a gurdwara in Canada’s British Columbia in June. He was chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force and reportedly one of India’s most wanted terrorists.
National Daughters Day 2023: History, significance, theme and wishes
The purpose of National Daughter’s Day is to serve as a reminder that girls should be given equal chances, including access to education, practical life skills, and sports participation, among others.
In India, Daughter’s Day is observed on the final Sunday in September, which falls on September 24, 2023. India is the only big nation with a higher mortality rate for females than boys, according to UNICEF.
At birth, there are 900 females for every 1000 boys in the nation. In the world, boys are 7% more likely than girls to die before the age of five. In India, though, the figures are dismal, with 11% more girls dying before turning five.
Given these troubling numbers, it is crucial to invest in the wellbeing of girls in order to empower them. The purpose of National Daughter’s Day is to serve as a reminder that girls should be given equal chances, including access to education, practical life skills, and sports participation, among others.
The first National Daughters Day was observed in India in 2007, which is where the holiday’s origins can be found. Daughters have frequently been overlooked in a society where males have long been regarded with awe. The noble goal of this day is to inspire parents to show their admiration for their daughters.
In certain cultures, having daughters has been seen as more of a burden than a blessing. With the goal of reversing this perception, National Daughter’s Day exhorts parents to acknowledge the extraordinary gift that their daughters are.
The significance of National Daughters Day can be found in our ever-changing society. It’s a day set aside to gleefully acknowledge the daughters in our lives. Falling on a Sunday presents a chance for parents and daughters to spend quality time together, cherish one another, and have intimate life-related dialogues. It’s a day for giving, caring, and fostering the cherished relationship between mothers and daughters.
- Daughters are special and highly valued, which demonstrates that they were sent from heaven above
- Daughters are special; once we have them, we can never live without them. Happy Daughters’ Day!
- Daughters are the pride of their parents’ hearts; from birth, they are beautiful
- My darling daughter, my baby you will always be, no matter where you are. You are a little part of me, whether near or far. Happy Daughters’ Day!
- Daughters will soon be married and grown, then they may start a family of their own
Canadian PM Trudeau wants to work constructively with India, says Canada shared credible allegations with New Delhi weeks ago
India has repeatedly denied claims of receiving any intel regarding the allegations from Canada before Justin Trudeau’s announcement on Monday revealing them.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday asserted that Canada shared credible allegations that the Indian government may have been involved in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar weeks ago, according to reports.
The Canadian Prime MInister added that his country wants to work constructively with India and hope that New Delhi engages with them so that they can get to the bottom of this very serious matter. Meanwhile, India has repeatedly denied claims of receiving any intel regarding the allegations from Canada before Justin Trudeau’s announcement on Monday revealing them.
On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged that there was a potential link between an Indian government agent and the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force, who was gunned down in Surrey in June. Justin Trudeau made the allegations in the Canadian Parliament.
India has debunked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement deeming the allegations of the Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada as both absurd and motivated. Issuing a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated that they have seen and rejected the statement made by the Canadian Prime Minister in their Parliament. It added that they also rejected the statement made by their Foreign Minister.
After the allegations by PM Trudeau, the Canadian government expelled a top Indian diplomat. In a tit for tat move, New Delhi also expelled a Canadian diplomat. The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also claimed that the Indian High Commission and consulates are facing security threats in Canada and therefore cannot process visa applications temporarily.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was among India’s most-wanted terrorists, carrying a reward of Rs 10 lakh on his head. He was fatally gunned down by two unidentified assailants outside a gurdwara in Surrey, a province of British Columbia in Canada, on June 18, according to reports.