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First Virtual Quad Summit to be Held on March 12

The first Quad leaders’ summit will be held on March 12, 2021,said the statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs, India. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga, and President of United States (US) Joe Biden will participate in the summit.

In the scheduled virtual summit, the leaders are expected to discuss regional and global issues of “shared interest”. A discussion on “practical areas of cooperation” including “maintaining a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.” 

“The Summit will provide an opportunity to exchange views on contemporary challenges such as resilient supply chains, emerging and critical technologies, maritime security, and climate change,” read the statement released by India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

A discussion on opportunities for collaboration in ensuring “safe, equitable and affordable vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region” is also on the agenda.

This summit comes amidst the rising concerns over the increasing Chinese presence in Indo-Pacific. The coronavirus pandemic, the US-China trade war, and the tensions in Australia-China relations have also forced the leaders of Australia, India, Japan, and the US to come together. However, the US has maintained that the Quad is not about any “single challenge” or “single competitor”.

“This is an entity forged and formed because we share common interests. They’re – 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,” assured Spokesperson of the US Department of State Mr. Ned Price while speaking to the media on March 9.

Quadrilateral dialogue (Quad) among the leaders of India, Japan, Australia, and US was first proposed in 2007 by then Prime Minister of Japan Sinzo Abe and was supported by the leaders of other three countries. The first iteration of dialogue was unsuccessful. However, the dialogue was revived in 2017 with renewed efforts from leaders of the four countries. Scholars and analysts believe the Quad is a coalition of “democratic” countries as opposed China’s authoritarian style government.