Quad Summit International

From vaccines to illegal fishing, Quad will announce a range of deliverables: U.S. official

The four heads of the Quad countries had held talks in March. File photo  

Previewing the first in-person summit level meeting between Quad leaders later on Friday, a senior administration official in the U.S., who spoke on background highlighted the expected deliverables from the summit across a range of areas from vaccines to illegal fishing. The official also repeatedly stressed that the Quad is an informal gathering and not a military or security partnership.

The official said that U.S. President Joe Biden understands that the major challenges of this century will play out in the Indo-Pacific and the Quad engagement is part of the U.S. “doubling down” on diplomacy. Mr Biden is also keen for Friday’s discussions to not be scripted and wants an opportunity to have in-depth conversations, the official said.

“I do want to underscore that the Quad is an unofficial gathering, although we have a number of working groups and we are deepening cooperation on a very daily basis. It is also the case that it is not a regional security organization,” the official said, adding that at Friday’s summit, Quad leaders wanted to focus on specific issues facing the Indo-Pacific at the moment.

In terms of deliverables, first, there will be detailed updates on the Quad Vaccine Initiative, announced at the March virtual summit. The Quad will supply at least a billion India manufactured COVID-19 vaccine doses across Asia by the end of 2022 under this initiative.

Quad leaders will also announce a supply chain initiative on semiconductors, that involves the mapping of capacity across the group, identifying vulnerabilities and enhancing the security of supply chains. Significantly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with the CEO of chip manufacturer Qualcomm on Thursday morning.

Next, the Quad will also announce a 5G effort that is aimed at creating a diverse and resilient 5G technology network. Both these technology initiatives are presumably to provide alternatives to networks and supply chains that are dependent on China.

A fellowship for 100 students, 25 from each Quad member country, to study for a U.S. masters or doctoral degree in a STEM subject will also be announced.

There will also be an initiative on space and information sharing on maritime domain awareness and illegal fishing.

Another outcome of the Quad will be the announcement of a “very high level working group” on protecting critical infrastructure against cyberthreats (both India and the U.S. have been victims of attacks allegedly from China and, in the U.S. case, Russia too).

There will also be specific outcomes around decarbonizing the shipping industry, according to one of the senior officials who briefed journalists.

AUKUS is likely to come up as part of a list of recent developments in the region, an official said, adding that the Quad and AUKUS “really have nothing to do with one another.”

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 4:24:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/from-vaccines-to-illegal-fishing-quad-will-announce-a-range-of-deliverables-us-official/article36647149.ece

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