The Saturday editions of all national papers took up the joint readout released following the conclusion of the Quad leaders’ videoconference held early Friday morning, focusing on the omission of language denouncing the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The omission flew in the face of Prime Minister Kishida’s comment during the virtual summit that Moscow deserves strong condemnation for its unilateral attempts to alter the status quo. The document did not even mention Russia, noting instead that the “leaders discussed the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.” However, the four partners agreed, apparently with China in mind, that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states should be respected in the Indo-Pacific region.
The dailies speculated that India was strongly opposed to the idea of condemning Russia in the statement on account of its strong bonds with Moscow to counterbalance China. The papers conjectured that the Biden administration is growing increasingly frustrated with New Delhi’s hesitancy to fully align with the three other Quad partners on many international issues other than the free and open Indo-Pacific initiative. Sankei wrote that Japan is not in any hurry to press India to change its approach toward Russia, saying that when Prime Minister Kishida visits the New Delhi later this month, he will gently urge Prime Minister Modi to take a concerted line with the Quad members.