The four ”Quad” countries ~ India, Japan, Australia and the USA ~ propose to hold the first meeting of their leaders against the backdrop of growing Chinese assertiveness on maritime issues, according to the Japanese media.
If it fructifies, the meeting could also provide a platform for detailed talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and America’s new President Joe Biden on growing Indo-US ties.
A report in The Japan Times said the Biden administration appeared eager to build on the grouping of the four major Indo-Pacific democracies. It said the US had already proposed to other countries the idea of holding an online meeting of the “Quad” leaders. It quoted US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan calling the “Quad” a “foundation upon which to build substantial American policy in the Indo- Pacific,” in recent remarks.
However, there was no immediate confirmation available from the foreign office in New Delhi on whether such a meeting would take place any time soon. Whether the talks would materialise soon would depend on India, which is known for its relatively cautious stance on the framework. It is the only “Quad” member that shares a land border with China and operates outside the US-led security alliances.
During the proposed meeting, the four nations are expected to discuss cooperation for the realisation of a free and open Indo-Pacific amid concerns over China’s aggressive posturing in the region. China may react with displeasure, as it sees the framework as an attempt to contain its rise.
Officially known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, the “Quad” is an informal strategic forum of the four countries which regularly hold dialogue at the ministers’ and senior officials’ level and also conduct joint military drills.