The first ever summit of the leaders of the Quadrilateral Framework or ‘Quad’ will take place virtually on March 12, the Ministry of External Affairs announced on Tuesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the discussion which will also witness the participation of President Joe Biden of the United States, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“The Leaders will discuss regional and global issues of shared interest, and exchange views on practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. The summit will provide an opportunity to exchange views on contemporary challenges such as resilient supply chains, emerging and critical technologies, maritime security and climate change,” stated a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs.
Hours before the formal announcement of the leaders' summit, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Suga held a round of consultations over phone and “emphasised that their engagement with like-minded countries such as Australia and the U.S., in the form of Quad consultations holds value and agreed that these useful discussions must continue.”
The formal announcement of the summit follows days after Mr. Morrison said he had discussed the upcoming summit with President Biden and with the leaders of Japan and India. The summit is the first that the leaders of the four member countries of the Quad will participate in. Ever since its launch in Manila in 2017, the Quad has remained mainly focused on ensuring enhanced cooperation among the member states across the Indo-Pacific region.
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On February 18, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar participated in the third Foreign Minister-level meeting of the Quad , which was his first interaction with the new U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The leaders’ summit on March 12 will be one of the first major Indo-Pacific-focused discussion of President Biden.
“The Leaders will discuss ongoing efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and explore opportunities for collaboration in ensuring safe, equitable and affordable vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region,” said the press release.