Antony Blinken Photograph:( Reuters )
Myanmar was the key focus of the meet with separate read-outs from India, Japan, and the US mentioning it.
The foreign ministers of Quad countries -- US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Japan FM Motegi Toshimitsu, Australian FM Marise Payne and EAM Dr S Jaishankar -- spoke for the third time on Thursday. The meet comes almost around a month since new US President Joe Biden took charge and shows a reaffirmation of Washinton's approach on Quad and Indo Pacific visit.
Myanmar was the key focus of the meet with separate read-outs from India, Japan, and the US mentioning it. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) release said, "In the discussion pertaining to recent developments in Myanmar, the upholding of rule of law and the democratic transition was reiterated by India."
The country witnessed a coup on February 1 with the military overthrowing an elected government. The country has since seen several protests and has been a cause of concern globally as well.
The US State Department release said, "The Ministers discussed.... the urgent need to restore the democratically elected government in Burma, and the priority of strengthening democratic resilience in the broader region."
The US refers to Myanmar as Burma. The name of the country was officially changed to Myanmar in 1989 by the military government but remains a globally contested issue.
The Quad meeting comes amidst aggressive china with quad readouts obliquely mentioning it with calls for "advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific region, including support for freedom of navigation and territorial integrity."
The MEA added, "The Ministers emphasised their commitment to upholding a rules-based international order, underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation in the international seas and peaceful resolution of disputes."
The Covid cooperation was another factor as last year saw Quad plus meet at foreign secretaries' level meeting on a regular basis to discuss the issue.
The Indian read out said, "They expressed their commitment to cooperate in addressing this challenge, enhancing access to affordable vaccines, medicines and medical equipment. India’s efforts at providing vaccines to 74 countries was recognised and appreciated."
Amid the pandemic, India has sent Covid vaccines to more than 20 countries in the region, barring Pakistan.
Quad FMs had met last year in Tokyo in a physical meeting. The first Quad meet happened in New York in 2019 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.