Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be participating, along with Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga and President of USA Joseph Biden, in the first Leaders’ Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework on March 12, according to the latest government statement released on Friday (March 12).
The Quad meeting will be held virtually, which is often viewed as a countermeasure to offset China’s growing military and economic clout in the Asia-Pacific region. The meeting will be the first interaction between India and the USA after Joe Biden was elected as the President of America. “The meeting will likely see global leaders discussing ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19 pandemic and explore opportunities for collaboration in ensuring safe, equitable and affordable vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region,” the official statement said.
The statement points to a probable discussion over financing agreements between pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturers of India, US, and other countries. India in the previous meet had announced that the country plans to send COVID-19 vaccines to nearly 75 countries. This was viewed as a way to counter Chinese vaccine diplomacy.
According to the statement, the country leaders will discuss regional and global issues of shared interest, and exchange views on practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a ‘free, open and inclusive’ Indo-Pacific region. “The Summit will provide an opportunity to exchange views on contemporary challenges such as resilient supply chains, emerging and critical technologies, maritime security, and climate change,” the statement read.
On March 9, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a chat with the Prime Minister of Japan Suga Yoshihide. During their phone call, both the countries welcomed the recent signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation on Specified Skilled Workers (SSW) and looked forward to its early implementation. Prime Minister Modi noted the Mumbai Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) project was a shining example of India-Japan bilateral strategic partnership.
Previously, the Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar participated in the 3rd India-Australia-Japan-USA Quad Ministerial Meeting which was held on February 18, 2021, with his counterparts Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.