NEW YORK: The Ambassadors from Quad nations - Australia, India, Japan and the United States - underlined the importance of addressing the global pandemic, climate change and renewing commitment to rules-based international order as they met here ahead of the Quad Leaders' Summit hosted by US President Joe Biden next week.
India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations Kimihiro Ishikane and Australia's Ambassador to the world body Mitch Fifield met on Thursday, just days ahead of the beginning of the high-level UN General Assembly session.
"Today, #UN ambassadors from the Quad (Australia, India, Japan, and the United States) met again in #NewYork to discuss cooperation and shared interests," India's Permanent Mission to the UN said in a tweet Thursday.
"As #UNGA76 begins, the Quad ambassadors underlined the importance of addressing the global pandemic, climate change and renewing commitment to rules-based international order," it said in the tweet, Their meeting also comes ahead of the Quad Leaders' Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden on September 24.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Biden, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan will participate in the Leaders' Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework in Washington and "review progress made since their first virtual Summit on 12 March 2021 and discuss regional issues of shared interest," the Ministry of External Affairs had said in a statement in New Delhi.
"As part of their ongoing efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, they will review the Quad Vaccine initiative which was announced in March this year, " it said.
They will also exchange views on contemporary global issues such as critical and emerging technologies, connectivity and infrastructure, cyber security, maritime security, humanitarian assistance/ disaster relief, climate change and education, it said.
"The summit would provide a valuable opportunity for dialogue and interactions among the leaders, anchored in their shared vision of ensuring a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, the MEA said.
In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence.
The evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of China's increasing military muscle-flexing has become a major talking point among leading global powers.
Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory.
China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
In the East China Sea, China has territorial disputes with Japan.
The US has been periodically sending its naval and air patrols through the South China Sea, challenging China's claims of sovereignty over the area and also asserting the freedom of navigation.
Prime Minister Modi will travel to New York to attend the UN General Assembly after concluding his engagements in Washington.
He will address the General Debate at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 25.
The theme for this year's General Debate is "Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations," the MEA statement added.