Quad leaders to meet in Sydney on May 24 for third in-person summit

Washington/Canberra: The third in-person Quad summit will be held in Sydney next month to deepen cooperation on critical and emerging technologies, high-quality infrastructure, global health, climate change and other pressing issues pertaining to the strategic Indo-Pacific region, it was announced on Wednesday.

The Quad or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue comprises India, the US, Japan and Australia. The May 24 meeting, scheduled to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be the first that Australia will be hosting.

The meeting came against the backdrop of growing global concerns over increasing Chinese assertiveness in the strategically-vital region.

“I’m pleased to announce that Australia will be hosting the Quad Leaders’ Summit for the first time on May 24 in Sydney. Hosting our Quad partners in Sydney next month will be an opportunity for Australia to help shape the region we all want to live in,” Albanese tweeted on Wednesday.

“The hosting of this Quad leaders’ meeting at the Sydney Opera House, Australia’s most recognisable building, will be a chance for us to work cooperatively with the United States, Japan and India,” he said in a video message.

In Washington, the White House said US President Biden will attend the third in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit in Sydney with Prime Minister Kishida Fumio of Japan, Prime Minister Modi and Australian Prime Minister Albanese.

Albanese attended the previous Quad summit in Tokyo hours after he was sworn in as prime minister last year.

The Quad leaders will discuss how they can deepen their cooperation on critical and emerging technologies, high-quality infrastructure, global health, climate change, maritime domain awareness, and other issues that matter to the people of the Indo-Pacific, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday.

Australian Prime Minister Albanese said it will also be an enormous opportunity to showcase the beautiful city of Sydeny to the entire world.

“We are always better off when we act together with our close friends and partners. The Quad is committed to supporting an open, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific that is respectful of sovereignty, and ensures security and growth for all,” he was quoted as saying by ABC News.

President Biden will arrive in Australia after attending the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Hiroshima, Japan from May 19 to May 21.

India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the region.

In 2017, the US, Australia, India and Japan 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 region free of any influence.

China claims nearly all the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam all claim parts of it.  Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.

Next month’s meeting will be the fourth Quad leaders’ summit and the third held in person.

The most recent in-person meeting was hosted by Japan’s capital Tokyo last year, hours after Albanese was sworn in as prime minister.

US President Biden hosted the first-ever summit of the Quad leaders in the virtual format in March 2021 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.

On September 24 last year, President Biden hosted leaders from Australia, India, and Japan at the White House for the first-ever in-person Leaders’ Summit of the Quad.