First-ever summit of Quad leaders set to take place

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi Updated: Mar 05, 2021, 11:35 AM(IST)

Quad summit (representative image). Photograph:( AFP )

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Quad is seen very suspiciously by China which has termed it "Asian NATO" something that has been dismissed by the grouping. 

In a significant development for the world and the region, the first-ever summit of Quad leaders is being planned and is expected to take place very soon. 

While no time schedule is known as of now, the meet, expected to be held virtually, will bring together US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Japan's Yoshihide Suga.

Confirming plans of the meet, Australian PM Scott Morrison 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."

"We are looking forward to those discussions and follow-up face-to-face meetings as well,"  he said, adding that such meets will become a "feature of the Indo-Pacific engagement".  It will, however, not have a big bureaucracy, with a big secretariat, he added.

"It will be four leaders, four countries working together constructively for the peace, prosperity and stability of the Indo -Pacific".

The Australian PM also recalled how the summit was "one of the first things" he had discussed with Biden when both spoke after the US president took office.

"The Quad is very central to the United States and our thinking about the region. Looking at the Indo-Pacific also through the prism of our ASEAN partners, their vision of the Indo-Pacific," the Australian PM added.

"The president and indeed the secretary of state, have made clear that their re-engagement in multilateral organisations particularly in the Indo-Pacific is key in building stability and peace in the Indo-Pacific."

February saw the third foreign minister-level talks of the Quad grouping. The foreign ministers of Quad countries - US secretary state Antony Blinken, Japanese foreign minister Motegi Toshimitsu, Australian foreign minister Marise Payne and India's external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar discussed key issues like COVID-19 pandemic and Myanmar. 

Quad foreign ministers had met last year in Tokyo in a physical meeting. The first Quad foreign ministerial meeting took place in New York in 2019 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

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 prime minister Shinzo Abe but lost support, only to re-emerge in 2017 when leaders of the grouping 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-19 pandemic, Quad plus meetings took place at the foreign secretary-level to exchange best practices.

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