Leaders of Quad countries to hold first-ever virtual summit on March 12
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Latest News - March 9, 2021

Leaders of Quad countries to hold first-ever virtual summit on March 12


The first-ever Quad–India, Japan, Australia and US leaders’ summit will take place virtually on March 12, Friday, marking a significant geopolitical moment. The summit will see the participation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with Australian PM Scott Morrison, Japan’s PM Yoshihide Suga and US President Joseph R Biden.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement, said, “The 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”.
It explained, “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.”
COVID vaccines will be a key focus, with 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 release mentioned.
So far, three foreign ministers’ level conversations have taken place, two of them physical meetings–one in New York in 2019, another in Tokyo last year and one telephonic conversation just last month.
Last month’s telephonic conversation between the four foreign ministers — US State Secretary Blinken, Japan FM Motegi Toshimitsu, Australian FM Marise Payne and EAM Dr S Jaishankar saw key focus being on Myanmar.
Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison confirming plans of the meet said, “I am looking forward to that first gathering of quad leaders. It will be the first-ever gathering of quad leaders. I already had bilateral discussions with Narendra Modi and Yoshihide Suga, the PM of Japan and PM of India.”
He pointed that such meets would become a “feature of the Indo-Pacific engagement” but it will “not have a big bureaucracy, with a big secretariat. It will be 4 leaders, 4 countries working together constructively for peace, prosperity, and stability of the Indo-Pacific”.
Quad is seen very suspiciously by China which has termed it “Asian Nato” something that has been dismissed by the grouping. The dialogue was first initiated in 2007 by the then Japanese PM Shinzo Abe but lost support only to re-emerge in 2017 when leaders of the grouping had met.
Last year saw Australia being invited to Malabar exercises which saw all four Quad countries coming under one umbrella for naval exercises in the Indian ocean. Amid the COVID pandemic, Quad plus meetings happened at the foreign secretary-level to exchange best practices.


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