NEW DELHI: India on Friday began its UN General Assembly (UNGA) participation with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar taking part in the Quad Foreign Ministers meeting.
"Had a warm discussion with Quad colleagues to start my UNGA 78 participation. Welcomed Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa. We discussed defending the rules based international order in the Indo-Pacific and delivering on Quad commitment. We always value our collective contribution to doing global good," said Jaishankar.
A 14-point joint statement was issued after the meeting which spoke about the Black Sea grain initiative, Ukraine, North Korea and Myanmar, besides countering terrorism.
The meeting was also attended by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong.
The four leaders met for the first time after the diplomatic downgrade of ties between India and Canada.
"It was good to join my fellow Quad foreign ministers from India, Australia and Japan on the sidelines of UNGA. The Quad is vital to our shared vision for a free and open Indo Pacific and together we reaffirmed our commitment to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter," said Blinken after the meeting.
The joint statement made by the four ministers reaffirmed their support for the United Nations, the enduring importance of upholding mutually determined rules, norms, and standards, and to deepen Quad cooperation in the international system.
The conversations also included Ukraine, North Korea and Myanmar.
"We express our deep concern over the war raging in Ukraine and mourn its terrible and tragic humanitarian consequences. We underscore the need for a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in Ukraine in accordance with international law, consistent with the principles of the UN Charter. We are deeply concerned about the global food security situation and support the efforts of the UN in the resumption of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI). In the context of this war, we concur that the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable," the joint statement read.
The ministers also condemned North Korea's proliferation of missile technology and its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs).
"We reaffirm our commitment to the complete denuclearization of North Korea consistent with UNSCRs, and we urge North Korea to abide by all its obligations under the UNSCRs and engage in substantive dialogue," the joint statement said adding that they stressed the importance of addressing proliferation of nuclear and missile technologies related to North Korea in the region and beyond.
Regarding Myanmar, the ministers expressed concern on the political and humanitarian crisis
"We call for the immediate cessation of violence, the release of all those unjustly detained, unhindered humanitarian assistance, resolution of the crisis through constructive dialogue, and a return to Myanmar’s transition towards inclusive federal democracy. We are also concerned with the implications of the ongoing situation in Myanmar on neighboring countries including a rise in transnational crime such as drug and human trafficking," the statement said.
Jaishankar to address UNGA on September 26
Jaishankar on Friday began his nine-day visit to the United States, primarily to attend the annual session of the UNGA in New York and to host a special event on the Global South.
Jaishankar's address at the high level session of the 78th UNGA is scheduled for the forenoon of September 26.
"During his visit to New York from September 22 to 26, the External Affairs Minister (EAM) will be leading the Indian delegation for the high level week at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly," the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
In keeping with India's support for Global South, the EAM will be hosting a special event 'India-UN for Global South: Delivering for Development.’
"The EAM will also be meeting with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Dennis Francis, President of the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly," the MEA said.
Following the completion of the 78th UNGA related engagements, Jaishankar will visit Washington DC from September 27 to September 30 for bilateral meetings with his American interlocutors.
His engagements in Washington include discussions with his counterpart American Antony Blinken, senior members of the US administration, US business leaders and think tanks.
Dr Jaishankar will also be addressing the fourth World Culture Festival being organised by the Art of Living, the MEA said.