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“Quad a force for global good” says PM Modi in First Ever Quad Summit

The first ever leader level summit of countries in Quadrilateral Dialogue (Quad) was held virtually on March 12, 2021. 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 participated in the summit.

The leaders emphasised on “free and open” Indo-Pacific, discussed economic and health impacts of COVID-19 and ways to combat climate change. The leaders also address “shared challenges, including in cyberspace, critical technologies, counterterrorism, quality infrastructure investment, and humanitarian-assistance and disaster-relief as well as maritime domains,” read the joint statement titled “The Spirit of the Quad” released by the Quad members on March 12.

“Our agenda today – covering areas like vaccines, climate change and emerging technologies – makes the Quad a force for global good,” said PM Modi in his opening remarks.

In a step towards further formalising the Quad, the Foreign Ministers of Quad countries will converse often and meet at least once a year. The joint statement also said that Quad countries will hold an in-person summit by the end of 2021.

In his remarks, Mr Modi said, “Today’s summit meeting shows that Quad has come of age.”

The leaders also resolved to “strengthen equitable vaccine access for the Indo-Pacific.” To ensure this vision, the Quad emphasised on  prioritizing the role of “international law in the maritime domain”, specially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). In an apparent reference to China, the Quad countries also resolved to meet “challenges to the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas.”

To combat the COVID-19 challenge, the Quad countries resolved to coordinate with international organisations like World Health Organisation (WHO) and COVAX for the same. The four countries resolved to combine their medical, scientific, financing, manufacturing and delivery, and development capabilities and establish a “vaccine expert working group.” A “critical- and emerging-technology working group” will also be established to facilitate cooperation on international standards and innovative technologies of the future.

Reiterating commitment to combating climate change the leaders of Quad recognized “that climate change is a global priority” and the Quad “will work to strengthen the climate actions of all nations, including to keep a Paris-aligned temperature limit within reach.” The COP26 is scheduled to be held in Glasgow. Furthermore, a “climate working group” will be established to strengthen climate actions globally on mitigation, adaptation, resilience, technology, capacity-building, and climate finance as per the joint statement.

“We will work together, closer than ever before, for advancing our shared values and promoting a secure, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” said India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.