The leaders of the four Quad nations -- India, Australia, Japan, and the United States -- held the first in-person summit in Washington DC on Friday to discuss peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region and the entire world. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Australian PM Scott Morrison, and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga took part in the summit.
US President Joe Biden opened the summit by saying that the Quad leaders have come together to discuss common challenges from COVID to climate. He added that the four democratic partners share world views and have a common vision for the future.
Here are the key highlights:
* The Quad meeting — which went on for more than an hour — discussed a new working group on space, a vaccine supply chain initiative, 5G deployment, and diversification effort, and climate change and challenges in the Indo-Pacific.
* President Biden announced a Quad fellowship for students from each of our Quad countries to pursue advanced degrees in leading stem programs in the US.
* PM Modi, the first leader to be invited by host President Joe Biden to address the Quad gathering, said "On the basis of democratic values, Quad with positive ideas and a positive approach is determined to move forward... Whether it is the supply chain, security, climate action, COVID response, or technology cooperation, I am happy to discuss them with our friends... Our Quad is united as a force for good to work for the world."
* In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Quad leaders decided to build a joint vaccine supply chain to address any pandemic situations in the Indo-Pacific region. As part of the initiative, vaccines will be developed in the US, manufactured in India, financed by Japan and the US, and supported by Australia through logistics for the Indo-Pacific including island states.
* PM Modi said, "Our Quad vaccine initiative will help Indo-Pacific nations. Quad decided to go ahead with a positive approach on the basis of our shared democratic values. I would be happy to discuss with my friends -- be it supply chain, global security, climate action, COVID response, or tech cooperation."
* Australian PM Scott Morrison said “The group is about demonstrating how democracies such as ours can get things done. There is no part of the world that is more dynamic than the Indo-Pacific at this time.”
* In his address, Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga said, “We cherish our shared values. Whether it's regional issues or COVID, QUAD has addressed many of these issues. We will also be tackling issues of finance and tech. Quad is a very important initiative by the 4 nations that believe in fundamental rights and are of the view that the Indo-Pacific should be free and open. Till date, Quad has given its absolute cooperation in big sectors, be it regional challenges or COVID-19.”
Meanwhile, the Quad meeting received bipartisan support in the US. In a joint statement, the US lawmakers said that the Quad is taking critical steps to expand technological cooperation and military interoperability from the virtual heads of state summit, vaccine partnership, and supply chain resilience initiative earlier this spring to the successful exercise MALABAR last month.
Meanwhile, China has criticised the Quad grouping. In an official statement on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, “China always believes that any regional cooperation mechanism should not target a third party or harm its interests. Seeking exclusive closed cliques against a third country runs against the trend of the times and aspirations of countries in the region. It will find no support.”
(Edited by : Anshul)
First Published: IST