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Quad Summit: U.S President Joe Biden joins "Quad" allies to counter China

March 08, 2021 | 14:57

This month, U.S President Joe Biden will hold first ever quadrilateral US summit in a virtual format with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia, as the four countries form an ally in an effort to tackle China's influence in the Indo-Pacific.

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Indian army soldiers walk along a road near Zojila mountain pass that connects Srinagar to the union territory of Ladakh, bordering China on February 28. © AFP via Getty Images

The White House said Biden could hold the virtual meeting next week. Choosing a “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue” meeting for his first summit highlights his plan to reinvigorate the Quad as part of his China strategy.

On Sunday, Chinese language overseas minister Wang Yi, talking at a briefing in Beijing, accused the US of “finger-pointing” and “constructing small circles within the identify of multilateralism”.

Anja Manuel, director of the Aspen Safety Discussion board, stated there had been a “large turnround” in how keen India was to maneuver away from its earlier non-alignment coverage in an effort to push again in opposition to China, Financial Times reported.

“A decade in the past, you continue to had plenty of the non-alignment motion concepts,” she stated. “That’s gone, particularly with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and with the incursions within the excessive Himalayas two years in the past and final summer time.”

“China’s aggression in Ladakh was a significant catalyst in India not simply coming absolutely on board however agreeing to lend a public navy angle to the Quad,” stated Brahma Chellaney of the Centre for Coverage Analysis.

Admiral Philip Davidson, head of US Indo-Pacific Command, this week stated US-India navy co-operation had “superior markedly” and the potential for extra co-operation was “the strategic alternative” of the twenty first century.

Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute, he stated the militaries had been sharing extra intelligence, and praised India’s buy of P-8 spy planes, that are utilized by the US and Australia, enhancing interoperability.

In January, India additionally joined the opposite Quad members and Canada in Sea Dragon, an anti-submarine warfare train. Final yr, for the primary time, it leased Sea Guardian reconnaissance drones from the US.

Lisa Curtis, an India professional who was the highest NSC official for South Asia beneath Trump in the course of the India-China border disaster, stated India had pushed again in opposition to China in each the financial and the maritime realm.

“They elevated the tempo of their naval exercise fairly a bit to maintain the Chinese language on their toes,” stated Curtis, head of the Indo-Pacific Safety Program on the Heart for a New American Safety.

“They had been . . . making the assertion that their co-operation with the US and Japanese navies was a reminder to China that in case you put stress on the land borders, you higher be ready to fulfill us within the naval realm.”

India publicly insists that the Quad isn’t aimed toward China. Some Indians fear that the US is driving it into an alliance that India doesn’t need.

However C. Raja Mohan of the Nationwide College of Singapore stated India can calibrate its co-operation because it was not a US treaty ally, like Australia and Japan. “India can set the tempo . . . The extra India will get optimistic, the extra expansive the agenda on the safety facet can grow to be.”

Abhijit Singh, a former Indian naval officer on the Observer Analysis Basis, stated India was unlikely to pursue an instantaneous deepening of Quad navy co-operation given the latest partial disengagement of Chinese language and Indian troops. He stated India was additionally “a bit cautious of turning the quad into some sort of anti-China coalition”.

“We need to do way more with our Quad companions, however I don’t suppose there’s going to be an excessive amount of motion on the navy entrance so long as this disengagement lasts,” Singh stated. “But when we see any extra bother from China, it’s fairly probably that the administration posture on this may shift.”

Leaders of Quad countries set to hold first summit this month

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Photo: Hindustan Times

The leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad are set to hold their first summit in a virtual format this month, with the US administration taking the initiative to set up the meeting, people familiar with developments said on Friday.

Confirmation about the meeting came from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who told a news conference that he had discussed the matter with US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in recent conversations, according to Hindustan Times.

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US President Joe Biden speaks about foreign policy at the State Department in Washington, DC, on February 4, 2021. Biden said the US will confront 'authoritarianism' of China and Russia. (Agence France Presse/Saul Loeb)

“So, I am looking forward to that first gathering of the Quad leaders. It will be the first-ever such gathering,” he said in response to a question from a reporter on whether he had received an invitation for the meeting.

The people cited above said on condition of anonymity that the virtual summit is expected to be held on March 12.

There was no official word from the Indian side on the development.

The US had also taken the lead in organising the third meeting of the foreign ministers of the Quad on February 18, against the backdrop of continuing concerns over China’s actions across the region. That meeting had reiterated the group’s commitment to a rules-based world order underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Formed in 2007, the Quad was revived in 2017 as a gathering of senior officials of the four countries. It was upgraded to the level of the foreign ministers in September 2019, reflecting the desire of the four countries to work more closely on shared interests in the Indo-Pacific and India’s comfort with the group.

Morrison told the news conference that the four Quad leaders are looking forward to the first virtual summit and follow-up face-to-face meetings.

“This will become a feature of the Indo-Pacific engagement but it’s not going to be a big bureaucracy with a big secretariat and those sort of things. It will be four leaders, four countries working together constructively for the peace, prosperity and stability of the Indo-Pacific, which is good for everyone in the Indo-Pacific,” he said.

“It’s particularly good for our ASEAN friends [and] those throughout the southwest Pacific to ensure that they can continue with their own sovereignty and their own certainty for their own futures,” he added.

Morrison said the Quad Summit was one of the first things he and US president Joe Biden had discussed when they spoke on phone on February 3. The Quad, he added, was central to ongoing arrangements between Australia and the US.

“The Quad is very central to the US 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.

Biden and US secretary of state Antony Blinken had made clear that their re-engagement in multilateral organisations is “key to building stability and peace in the Indo-Pacific”, Morrison said. “We share that view, we encourage that view, and we strongly welcome that view,” he added.

The move to hold the first Quad Summit fits in with the Biden administration’s position that China is its biggest security challenge and competitor on the global stage.

While the former Trump administration had talked of formalising and expanding the Quad, questions have been raised on whether the Biden administration will adopt a more cautious approach to the group as a counter-balance to China.

Chinese officials have likened the Quad to a “mini NATO” and said its activities are aimed at targeting third parties, a charge rejected by the four members of the group.

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