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Saturday, September 18, 2021

First in-person Quad leaders’ Summit on September 24, says White House  

The White House has announced on Monday that the first in-person Quad or India, US, Australia and Japan’s leaders’ summit will take place on September 24 in Washington.   

The summit marks a major milestone and coming of age for the grouping, which has been in works for some time now. For the summit, the US President Biden will be hosting Australian PM Scott Morrison, Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga and Indian PM Narendra Modi.  

A White House statement said, “The Biden-Harris Administration has made elevating the Quad a priority, as seen through the first-ever Quad Leaders-level engagement in March, which was virtual, and now this Summit, which will be in-person”.   

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March 12 saw the first Quad summit, but that happened virtually amid the Covid pandemic. The key outcome of the summit was Quad Covid vaccine initiative. Quad Vaccine initiative will see covid vaccines–developed in the US, manufactured in India, financed by Japan and US and supported by Australia.  

The White House statement highlighted that “hosting the leaders of the Quad demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s priority of engaging in the Indo-Pacific, including through new multilateral configurations to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”   

Indo Pacific as a vision is being backed by India and US among other countries in the region. Many countries in Europe have also issued their papers on the visions and how to support it.  

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The statement pointed that the focus of the summit will be on “deepening our ties and advancing practical cooperation” on areas, such as “combatting COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.”   

Quad first came into existence after the 2004 Tsunami and saw some formalisation in 2007. At that time, Australia had issues, with the grouping again meeting a decade later in 2017 at the official level. Since 2019, Quad has had regular conversations at the foreign ministers’ level.  

The announcement by White House confirms Indian PM Modi’s US visit. He is expected to hold bilateral meeting with US President Biden on September 23, the first in-person meet between the two leaders since the change of guard in Washington.   

On September 25, he will be travelling to New York for the United Nations General Assembly high-level week for the address. During his address, he will be focusing on UN reforms, climate change, Covid crisis and vaccines, counter terror and some references can be expected on Afghanistan as well. 

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