The first-ever Quad leaders summit will also be the first in-person meeting of PM Modi and US President Biden. The two leaders have interacted virtually three times during the Quad summit in March 2021, the Climate Change summit in April 2021, and the G7 summit in June 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The White House statement stated that the “Biden administration has made elevating the Quad summit a priority of engaging in the Indo-Pacific, including through new multilateral configurations to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
First-ever in person Quad Summit 2021: Agenda
The focus of the first-ever in-person Quad summit in 2021 will be on ‘deepening our ties and advancing practical cooperation’ on areas such as promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific, combatting COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the climate crisis, and partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace, stated the White House statement.
The Quad leaders will ‘review the progress made since their first virtual Quad summit held on March 12, 2021, and deliberate on regional issues of shared interest. The leaders will also review the Quad Vaccine initiative that was announced in the Quad Summit held in March 2021 as part of their ongoing efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic,’ stated the Indian statement. The leaders will deliberate on contemporary global issues such as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, connectivity and infrastructure, critical and emerging technologies, cyber security, education, and climate change.
What is Quad?
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, also known as the Quad, is a strategic dialogue between the United States (US), India, Australia, and Japan. The Quad was formed in 2007 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe along with support from the then US Vice President Dick Cheney, Indian PM Manmohan Singh, and Australian PM John Howard.
How was Quad formed?
The beginning of the Quad group can be traced to the evolution of Exercise Malabar. The military exercise was widely viewed as a response to the increasing economic and military power of China. The Chinese government therefore issued formal diplomatic protests to the members of the Quad. The US, Japan, and India continue to hold joint naval exercises through Malabar.
The Quad however ceased due to the withdrawal of Australia in the wake of the growing tension between the US and China in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2010, Julia Gillard replaced Australian PM Rudd following which enhanced military cooperation between Australia and the US was resumed.
During the 2017 ASEAN Summits in Manila, all four member countries namely the US, India, Australia, and Japan led by Donald Trump, Narendra Modi, Malcolm Turnbull, and Shinzo Abe came together to revive the Quad alliance in order to curb the growing military power of China in the South China Sea.
Objectives of Quad
In 2021, the Quad members in a joint statement stated a shared vision of the Quad alliance. The Quad alliance also held a first Quad Plus meeting to formulate a response to manage the COVID-19 pandemic that included representatives from South Korea, New Zealand, and Vietnam.
The objectives of the Quad are:
- To advance the security and the economic interests of all countries.
- To develop a free and open Indo-Pacific free of any Chinese influence,
- To develop a rules-based maritime order in the South and East China seas to counter the Chinese military power