Teaching intricacies of cricket to US, Japanese foreign ministers a ‘major advancement’: S. Jaishankar

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Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, pose for a photo before their meeting at the Quad meeting of foreign ministers in Melbourne, Australia, February 11, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/POOL

Quad foreign ministers, at the end of their deliberations Friday, visited the 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) where Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar gifted his Australian counterpart Marise Payne with a cricket bat signed by former India skipper Virat Kohli and then taught cricket to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa, both from non-cricket playing countries.

“Anybody who doubts that Quad has a positive message and positive approach should have been with us at the MCG yesterday. I think a major advancement was made when we could teach ministers, Hayashi and Secretary Blinken, the intricacies of cricket, including bowling and how to actually use the seam on the cricket ball,” Jaishankar said lightly to reporters.

“So, nobody should doubt the positive contribution of Quad,” Jaishankar said at the joint press conference with Payne after their bilateral meeting and a meeting of Quad foreign ministers on Friday.

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In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence amidst China’s growing military presence and also develop critical cooperation in other complementary activities, including vaccine development and distribution.

“All four of us yesterday, the two of us and Blinken and Hayashi as well, made that point that we are here to do positive things. We are here to contribute to the peace, prosperity and stability of the region,” Jaishankar said, amidst China’s vehement opposition to the formation of the Quad grouping that it sees as “confrontational”.

Payne said Quad is all about helping to “positively shape our region”.

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