Historic: 1st QUAD summit held; Important takeaways

The leaders of the QUAD group of nations, which a regional alliance of four countries — met together in a virtual summit on Friday. This is seen as part of efforts to counter China’s growing military and economic power.

And finally leaders of the four QUAD nations — India, Japan, USA and Australia, gathered for the first time, giving straight signal to China’s imprudent behaviour with its neighbours. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japan’s Yoshihide Suga, Australia’s Scott Morrison and POTUS Joe Biden joined on Friday in the maiden online summit of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

The meeting is seen as part of efforts to counter the growing military and economic power of China. It was also the first interaction between US President Joe Biden and PM Narendra Modi at a public event since the former taking office. Here are the key takeaways from the first QUAD summit:

US, Japan, Australia vow to support India in the global vaccine program

The Quad leaders, at the virtual summit, agreed to launch a mega vaccine program under which India will produce Covid-19 vaccines for the whole Indo-Pacific region. America and Japan will lend financial assistance to India, while Australia will support India in logistics and delivery.

Briefing reporters on the summit, India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said, “In today’s context, it is one of the most important initiatives. We are talking about huge investments in creating additional vaccine capacities in India for exports to countries in the Indo-Pacific region for their betterment. We are talking about producing a billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2022.”

The China factor

All four QUAD leaders had a similar point of view on the Chinese aggression in the region. They supported a “free, open and inclusive” region without any form of intimidation. It is apparent that the indication was towards China which is domineering its neighbours in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond.

Shringla said that all countries had a “sympathetic view towards India” over the recent India-China face-off in Ladakh. The leaders were on the same page when it comes to the regional and global issues of shared interest. They agreed tp cooperate each-other towards maintaining a prosperous and peaceful post-pandemic world.

“We’ve got a big agenda ahead of us gentlemen as you well know, but I’m optimistic about our prospects,” said Joe Biden said. “The Quad is going to be vital in our cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and I look forward to looking closely to working with all of you in the coming years,” added the POTUS.

PM Narendra Modi was all praise for the leaders of QUAD nations for their support in creating a balanced environment in the region.

“I see this positive vision as an extension of India’s ancient philosophy of Vasudeiva Kutumbakam which regards the world as one family. We will work together, closer than ever before for advancing our shared values and promoting a secure, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” he said.

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