The QUAD foreign ministers are expected to meet in Melbourne, Australia later this month where the multilateral talks will address issues concerning Chinese belligerence, terrorism, COVID-19 vaccines, free and open Indo-Pacific and much more. Next week external affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar is expected to head to Australia to physically participate in the annual meeting of the foreign ministers of the QUAD member countries. However, dates have not been announced officially.
For the two days meeting in Melbourne: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Foreign Minister of Japan Yoshimasa Hayashi, India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, and Australia’s Marise Payne are expected to be present.
This will be Dr Jaishankar’s first visit to Australia as a minister and his first overseas visit in 2022.
According to sources, there is a bilateral component also to this visit. Bilaterally, Dr Jaishankar is likely to talk about the AUKUS; Indo-Pacific, and other issues of mutual interests to both sides.
All the QUAD member countries are expected to discuss concerns related to growing Chinese aggression in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), and Russia-Ukraine issue as well as NATO, and other international issues.
Also on the table for the discussion most importantly will be the free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, urge the member nations to work towards a secure and prosperous region; interoperability amongst the navies of member countries for maritime security; climate change, vaccines for COVID-19 as well as critical technologies.
When did the last QUAD FM meet take place?
In 2020, the QUAD FMs had met virtually. Since then the QUAD has been elevated to a Leaders meet level. First there was a virtual meet and later, the leaders were hosted by President Joe Biden of the US, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had travelled to Washington DC to attend.
During the last meeting of the leaders of the QUAD, it was decided that the meeting will take place annually. Japan is expected to host the next QUAD Leaders meet in Tokyo later this year. And India will be hosting the meet in 2023.
Later this month, Dr Jaishankar is expected to travel to Paris to attend the Indo-Pacific meet. Foreign ministers of Europe as well as other countries including India and Australia are going to be present.
For the first six month of 2022, France is holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.