New Delhi: The first Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) in-person meeting could happen on the sidelines of the G7 summit that is scheduled to take place in the United Kingdom from June 11 to June 13, 2021. The Quad has Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the United States President Joe Biden, Australian PM Scott Morrison and Japan’s PM Yoshihide Suga as its members.
The G7 summit will be held in Carbis Bay, Cornwall and the UK PM Boris Johnson, who is the chair of the grouping for 2021, has invited PM Narendra Modi and Australian PM Scott Morrison to attend it.
The G7 will witness for the first time, the leaders of all these countries coming together physically. While the UK could see the Quad meet, the US is keen on hosting the first in-person meet as well.
The group, notably, met on March 12 at the leaders level for the first time, but the meet was virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The leadership summit saw a major announcement with the Quad COVID-19 vaccine initiative, seen as major practical cooperation between the members of the grouping.
Basically, the American vaccines will be produced by India, financed by the US and Japan, and provided logistical support by Australia. These coronavirus vaccines will be given to countries in the Indo-Pacific region, the first being the countries in South-East Asia.
Japan, through JICA, is in discussions to provide concessional Yen loans for the Indian government to expand manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines for export.
The US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) will work with Hyderabad-based manufacturer Biological E to increase its capacity to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.
The group comes together at a time of increased Chinese aggressiveness — from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) row with India, issues with Japan over the Senkaku Island, trade tiff with Australia and the US.
While China obviously wasn’t mentioned in the first-ever joint statement, it did call for ‘a region that is free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion.’
The statement mentioned prioritizing the ‘role of international law in the maritime domain, particularly as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)’ and ‘to meet challenges to the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas’.
China has been known to not only violate UNCLOS but also based on its nine-dash line policy claiming the entire South China Sea, much to the dismay of the members of the ASEAN grouping.