Summit between Indian PM Modi, US President Biden and PMs of two other bloc members planned for later this month as Indo-Pacific vision set to be put into action.
India’s robust geo-strategy in the Indo-Pacific received a big boost on Friday when leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) bloc of nations announced they would hold their first-ever meeting soon.
“This will become a feature of Indo-Pacific engagement,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Friday, without giving details on the timing of the talks between his country and India, the US and Japan. “It will be four leaders, four countries, working together constructively for the peace, prosperity and stability of the Indo-Pacific,” Morrison said. He expected the talks to be held virtually, followed by face-to-face meetings.
The Australian PM further added that he had discussed the arrangements with US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in recent weeks. “The Quad is very central to the United States and our thinking about the region, and looking at the Indo-Pacific also through the prism of our Asean partners and their vision of the Indo-Pacific,” he said, referring to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. "So, yes, the Quad is very central."
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Separately, the administration of US President Joe Biden signaled on Friday that it looks forward to engaging with his counterparts in Australia, India and Japan as soon as possible.
“President Biden has had warm and productive early conversations with his counterparts in Australia, India, and Japan, and looks forward to engaging even more directly with our partners in the Indo-Pacific as soon as possible,” a senior Biden administration official said.
While Indian government officials told PTI and ANI that there was no formal decision yet on the final dates of the summit, foreign ministers of the bloc met virtually last month. The four countries had in 2017 given shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the "Quad" or the Quadrilateral coalition to counter China’s aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region.
In less than 50 days after being sworn in as the US President, Biden and his team – including Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and National Security Advisor (NSA) Jake Sullivan – have had unprecedented engagement with their counterparts from Quad countries.
But both the White House and the State Department have refrained from making any comment on a Quad summit so far. The Pentagon last month said it supports such a meeting of its leaders. According to Axios, the planned summit involving Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Morrison is likely to take place later this month. “By putting a Quad meeting on the president's schedule, the White House is signaling the importance of partnerships and alliances to counter China's growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region,” officials said.