Washington: US President Joe Biden would host the first-ever in-person Quad summit on September 24 which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Japanese premier Yoshihide Suga, the White House announced on Monday.
The prime minister is also scheduled to address the ‘General Debate’ of the high-level segment of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 25 in New York, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced on Tuesday.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be participating, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan and President Joseph R Biden of USA, in the Leaders’ Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework in Washington DC, USA, on September 24,” the MEA said in a statement.
It said the leaders will review progress made since their first virtual summit on March 12 and discuss regional issues of shared interest.
“As part of their ongoing efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, they will review the Quad Vaccine initiative which was announced in March this year,” the MEA said.
It said the leaders will also exchange views on contemporary global issues such as critical and emerging technologies, connectivity and infrastructure, cyber security, maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, climate change and education.
“The summit would provide a valuable opportunity for dialogue and interactions among the Leaders, anchored in their shared vision of ensuring a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region,” the MEA said.
The four leaders would discuss deepening their ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas like combatting COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific, the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
In March, President Biden hosted the first-ever summit of the Quad leaders in the virtual format that vowed to strive for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, inclusive, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion, sending a subtle message to China.
“President Joseph R.Biden, Jr. will host the first-ever Quad Leaders Summit at the White House on September 24. President Biden is looking forward to welcoming to the White House Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan,” Psaki said.
The Biden-Harris administration has made elevating the Quad a priority, as seen through the first-ever Quad Leaders-level engagement in March, which was virtual, and now this Summit, which will be in-person, she said.
“Hosting the leaders of the Quad demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s priority of engaging in the Indo-Pacific, including through new multilateral configurations to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” she said.
According to the White House, the Quad Leaders will be focused on deepening their ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas such as combatting COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The Quad summit will take place amidst China’s aggressive behaviour in the resource-rich South China Sea.
Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory.
China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence