The maiden QUAD summit, involving leaders from India, Australia, Japan and the United States, will discuss a variety of global issues ranging from COVID-19 challenge, economic crisis and climate change.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be participating, along with Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga and US President Joseph R. Biden, in the first leaders’ summit of the quadrilateral framework, being held virtually on March 12 (Friday).
“The leaders will discuss ongoing efforts to combat Covid-19 pandemic and explore opportunities for collaboration in ensuring safe, equitable and affordable vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region,” a statement said.
It will be for the first time that PM Modi will meet newly elected US President Joe Biden and also Japanese counterpart Suga.
Speaking on the quad meet, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “that President Biden has made this one of his earliest multilateral engagements speaks to the importance we place on close cooperation with our allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific.”
“A range of issues, course, we expect to be discussed, I should say, facing the global community from the threat of COVID to economic cooperation and, of course, to the climate crisis,” she added.
“Formed in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami and formalized in 2007, the Quad has met regularly at the working in foreign minister level. However, Friday will be the first time that the Quad is meeting at the leader level,” she said.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the summit will showcase the Quad’s ability to pool capabilities and build habits of cooperation to address some of those urgent challenges they face.
“Now, at the same time, I would just note that the Quad is not about any single challenge. It’s not about any single competitor. This is an entity forged and formed because we share common interests… maritime security is, of course, an important one, but our shared interests go well beyond that. And I think you will see reflected in the agenda the breadth of those shared interests in the aftermath of the Quad meeting,” he said in response to a question.
Quad summit likely to give big push to India-made vaccines in war on Covid-19
The first-ever Indo-Pacific Quad summit is likely to give a major thrust to scaling up Indias efforts to provide affordable vaccines to a larger number of countries for stepping up the war against the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
The move comes at a time when there is an acute shortage of vaccines worldwide and the poorer countries are unable to secure supplies. India has emerged as the ‘pharmacy of the world’ with the production of two affordable vaccines.
Hope first Quad summit is conducive to regional peace, ‘not the opposite’, says China
Ahead of the quad meet, a wary China hoped that the four countries will do things that are “conducive” to regional peace and stability instead of the “opposite”.
Asked for his reaction to the first Leaders’ summit of the Quad, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that China believes that any regional cooperation architecture should follow the principle of peaceful development and win-win cooperation, which is the prevailing trend of the times.
“We hope the relevant countries will keep in mind the common interests of the regional countries uphold the principles of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation and do things that are conducive to regional peace stability and prosperity rather than the opposite,” Zhao said.
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.
The US has been favouring making Quad a security architecture to check China’s growing assertiveness.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS)