The stage is set for the first summit of ‘Quad’ leaders tomorrow in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will review with US President Joe Biden, Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga the situation in the Indo-Pacific region against the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness on maritime issues.
The four leaders will discuss regional and global issues of shared interest, and exchange views on practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
They will also discuss ongoing efforts to combat the Covid- 19 pandemic and explore opportunities for collaboration in ensuring safe, equitable and affordable vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region.
China, which considers the ‘Quad’ a grouping out to contain its rise, is expected to keep a close eye on the outcome of the summit, coming as it does when its ties with all the four nations are at a low ebb.
According to sources, the proposal for holding the ‘Quad’ summit was mooted by President Biden soon after his inauguration in January. The broad contours of hosting the event virtually were finalised on 18 February when External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar participated in the third foreign minister-level meeting of the ‘Quad’, which was his first interaction with new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The summit is taking place at a time when the US has been favouring making the ‘Quad’ a security architecture to check China’s aggressive posturing in the region.
Ahead of the summit, a White House spokesperson said, ”that President Biden has this as one of his earliest engagements speaks to the importance we place on close cooperation with our allies and partners in the Indo Pacific.”