Heads of government of India, the US, Japan and Australia will have their first summit, virtually, on Friday to discuss practical cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, resilient supply chain initiatives, maritime security and emerging and critical technologies. The summit will be a significant step towards formalizing the Quadrilateral, or Quad, and will send a big message to China.
Announcing the summit, the Ministry of External Affairs said, “PM Narendra Modi will be participating, along with Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga and US President Joseph R Biden, in the first Leaders’ Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework, being held virtually on 12th March 2021.” Quad foreign ministers had met twice during the Trump years and recently held a virtual meet too.
The leaders will discuss issues of shared interest and exchange views on practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, officials said. China’s ambitious agenda in the Indo-Pacific region has been a worry for all Quad members. India, Japan and Australia had launched resilient supply chain initiative last year to reduce overdependence on China-led supply chain.
The summit will also see discussion on efforts to combat Covid-19 and explore opportunities for collaboration in ensuring safe, equitable and affordable vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region. However, Quad is unlikely to have structured existence including a big secretariat with a big bureaucracy.