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Quad urges India to condemn Russia over Ukraine

New Delhi has abstained from voting at U.N. General Assembly

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks with the leaders of the U.S., India and Australia online on March 3. (Photo courtesy of Japan's Cabinet Public Affairs Office)

TOKYO -- The U.S., Japan and Australia called on India to join the rest of the group in denouncing Russia over its invasion of Ukraine in an online meeting of the Quad security bloc held Thursday.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for about an hour. One of the goals was to get India on board in condemning Russia.

In response, Modi said "the need to return to a path of dialogue and diplomacy," according to a statement issued by the Indian leader's office. 

New Delhi, along with Beijing was among the 35 countries that abstained from voting on a U.S.-sponsored United Nations resolution deploring Russian "aggression" on Wednesday. The nonbinding resolution was passed by the U.N. General Assembly with 141 countries supporting it. Five countries voted against the measure.

The leaders "agreed to stand up a new humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mechanism which will enable the Quad to meet future humanitarian challenges in the Indo-Pacific and provide a channel for communication as they each address and respond to the crisis in Ukraine," the White House said in a statement.

The leaders agreed that the use of force to change the status quo cannot be allowed in the Indo-Pacific, Kishida told reporters at his office in Tokyo.

"We agreed that under the current circumstances, it is important that we step up our efforts to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific," Kishida said. He told the group that he condemns Russia for its invasion that shakes the very foundations of order in the international community.

Japan is scheduled to host an in-person Quadrilateral Security Dialogue meeting this year. The U.S. has indicated that it hopes to meet in May.

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