New Delhi: Expressing concern over the Russia-Ukraine conflict, India and Australia have underlined the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities and stressed that the contemporary global order has been built on UN Charter, international law and respect for states’ sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison made the assertion during their virtual summit on Monday, according to a joint statement which was put out by the Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday.
At the virtual summit with Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Russia must be held accountable for the loss of lives in Ukraine and care must be taken to ensure that such “terrible events” never occur in the Indo-Pacific region.
The joint statement noted the two leaders expressed their serious concern about the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
Modi and Morrison reiterated the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities, it said.
They emphasised that the contemporary global order has been built on the UN Charter, international law and respect for sovereignty and the territorial integrity of states, the statement mentioned.
The two leaders agreed to remain closely engaged on the issue and its broader implications for the Indo-Pacific, it added.
At a media briefing after the summit, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Monday that Morrison expressed understanding of India’s position on the issue of Ukraine.
There was a clear sense that a conflict in Europe “should not be a reason for us to divert our attention from the Indo-Pacific region”, he said.
Noting there was a “serious concern” about the conflict and humanitarian situation in Ukraine, the foreign secretary said Modi and Morrison spoke about the need for a cessation of hostilities and violence.
The joint statement mentioned that at the summit, the two leaders also expressed their shared commitment to a free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific supported by a robust regional architecture with the ASEAN at its centre.
They reaffirmed their commitment to an inclusive and prosperous region in which the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states is respected and countries are free from military, economic and political coercion, the statement said.
Modi and Morrison also underscored their commitment to cooperation between India, Australia, Japan and the United States in advancing the Quad’s positive and ambitious agenda to promote regional stability and prosperity.
They welcomed the virtual meeting between Quad leaders in March 2022 and looked forward to the next in-person leaders’ meeting in the coming months, the statement said.
They also welcomed the close cooperation between India and Australia on the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.
Prime Minister Modi appreciated the briefing by Morrison on the Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) partnership and the leaders recognised Australia’s commitment to not develop nuclear weapons and to uphold the highest standards of non-proliferation, the statement noted.
The leaders affirmed their commitment to further strengthening cooperation in the Indian Ocean region and with other Indian Ocean countries, including their support for the Indian Ocean Rim Association.
Prime Minister Modi welcomed Australia’s enhanced engagement in the Indian Ocean in maritime and disaster preparedness, trade, investment and connectivity, according to the joint statement.
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