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The Quad grouping on Friday decided to expand their scope of partnership with the signing of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) partnership guidelines during a ministerial meeting hosted by the US on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. During the meeting, the global leaders also attacked China and its attempts to dominate the rule based world order.

Union Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar, who is on a 10-day official visit to the US, participated in the meeting and termed HADR very timely. 

"Given the turbulent times, it's important that Quad goes further in constructive agenda that we've set for ourselves that we work together on the delivery of public goods, that our efforts and particularly what we're signing today the HADR partnership which we discussed and finalised in Tokyo is extremely timely," Jaishankar said in his opening remarks.

The minister also mentioned other initiatives in the pipeline like STEM fellowship.

"We're working on economic framework though we've other partners beyond Quad on it, on maritime domain awareness. Great idea to meet regularly on the sidelines of the UNGA in our respective countries too," he added.

US top diplomat Antony Blinken started his remarks by announcing that the meeting in New York is evidence that Quad is "strong and is getting stronger". He hosted the Quad meeting even though he is likely to rush out of New York, as he lost his father.

"Not one of us alone can do what is necessary to meet these challenges and seize these opportunities and that is the inspiration behind Quad," Blinken told his counterparts.

"This is the first time that the foreign ministers of the Quad nations got together at the UNGA so my hope is that it will be held as a regular feature at the meetings," Blinken added.

Penny Wong, Australian Foreign Minister talked about Australia's commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive and resilient.

"Quad is a forum committed to bringing tangible benefits to the region and ensuring a region which is peaceful, stable, prosperous and where sovereignty is respected, where the countries are free to make their own choices," Wong said.

She also made a veiled dig at China over the country's "attempt to dominate" Indo-Pacific and said, "No one in this room wants to see a region where countries are not able to make their sovereign choices, where any one country or any one perspective dominates."

The minister also asserted that the Indo-Pacific region is being reshaped economically and strategically. "We want to represent countries to navigate this period of change together. So this is the heart of the Quad," Wong noted.

Japan Foreign Minister, Hayashi Yoshimasa emphasized the importance of Quad and also took a swipe at Russia and China by referring to the attempts to unilaterally change the status quo by "force". The minister also cautioned about the threat to the free and open international order based on rule of law.

"It is extremely significant for us to demonstrate together to the international community our firm commitment to the UN charter and free and open Indo Pacific (FOIP)," the minister asserted.

"At the same time, FOIP cannot be achieved without working together with countries in the region. I am confident that the guidelines for Quad partnership on HADR here will further strengthen our collaboration to effectively respond to disasters in the Indo-Pacific region," the minister concluded.

With inputs from ANI.

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