World News: Ever since the QUAD or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue was formed in 2017, leaders of the four Quad Nations met today virtually for the first time.
One of the main focus at the summit will be the vaccine initiative developing anti-Covid-19 vaccines in the US, manufactured in India, financed by Japan and US, and supported by Australia. The main agreements will be particularly on Indian vaccine manufacturers for American pharmaceutical giants like Novavax Inc and Johnson & Johnson, a US official said.
PM Modi has urged other Quad Nations to invest in India’s vaccine production capacity to counter China’s exploitative vaccine diplomacy.
As Australia PM called this a “historic moment”, said the “Quad” Countries would discuss security challenges across the Indo-Pacific, climate change and efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
“There have been many other meetings, but when governments come together at the highest level, this shows a whole new level of cooperation to create a new anchor for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” he said.
Another point of discussion during the meeting will be on securing rare earth metals that are essential to the production of electric car motors and other products, Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reported.
As per an updated report, China currently produces nearly 60 per cent of the world’s rare earth metals, and huge share in the market has posed supply concerns. The virtual engagement is expected to last for about two hours and lay the groundwork for an in-person meeting later in the year, a senior US official told news agency Reuters this week.
PM Modi and Japan’s PM spoke on the phone on Tuesday. Along with India-Japan ties, they discussed the upcoming Quad summit. The Japanese government said Mr Yoshihide had very serious concerns regarding “unilateral attempts” to change the status quo in the East and South China Sea, in a clear reference to China.
The “Quad” or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is an informal strategic forum of the US, Japan, Australia, and India. It was revived in 2017 to be a buffer against Beijing. The Quad remains a strong focus for the four nations that have each had conflicts with China in recent years.
The last meeting of the Quad in October, the four nations had re-affirmed the importance of maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of the border dispute with China and the southeast Asian giant’s aggressive military behaviour in the Indo-Pacific and the South China Sea.
In November, the Quad nations came together to participate in a two-phase joint military exercise, Malabar 2020, in the Bay of Bengal and in the Arabian Sea. Upon the meeting of the Quad nations, China’s CCP’s Global Times said in an article that despite the presence of U.S in the team they can’t recreate the magic in Indo-Pacific region, like in the Eurasian region.
U.K’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is about to visit India at the end of this year has also expressed his desire to align U.K along Quad nations to beef up the effectiveness of the group.
With inputs from NDTV