Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with Australian PM Scott Morrison, Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga and US President Joe Biden, participated in the first Leaders’ Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework held virtually on March 12, 2021.
The leaders finalised a landmark initiative under which huge investments will be made in India to create additional production capacities to roll out a billion coronavirus vaccine doses by 2022 for exports to the Indo-Pacific region.
They discussed regional and global issues of shared interest and exchanged views on practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
What is Quad?
• The Quad, or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is an informal grouping of four countries — Australia, India, Japan and the United States. It is aimed at ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific, a strategically vital region that witnessed increasing Chinese military assertiveness in recent years.
• In November 2017, the four countries gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes.
• The foreign ministers of the four countries held their first meeting under the Quad framework in New York in September 2019.
• The evolving situation in the Indo-Pacific region in the wake of China’s increasing military muscle flexing has become a major talking point among leading global powers.
Highlights of the summit
• The leaders committed to respond to the economic and health impacts of COVID-19, combat climate change, and address shared challenges, including in cyber space, critical technologies, counter-terrorism, quality infrastructure investment, and humanitarian-assistance and disaster-relief as well as maritime domains.
• They will continue to prioritise 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 facilitate collaboration, including in maritime security, to meet challenges to the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas.
• As long-standing supporters of Myanmar and its people, they emphasized the urgent need to restore democracy and the priority of strengthening democratic resilience.
• The Quad leaders also decided to create three working groups in areas of vaccine, climate crisis and critical and emerging technology.
The Quad Vaccine Partnership
The four countries will launch a landmark partnership to further accelerate the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, Quad leaders are taking a shared action necessary to expand safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing in 2021, and will work together to strengthen and assist countries in the Indo-Pacific with vaccination, in close coordination with the existing relevant multilateral mechanisms including WHO and COVAX.
Quad partners are working collaboratively to achieve expanded manufacturing of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines at facilities in India, prioritizing increased capacity for vaccines authorized by Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRA).
The four nations will address financing and logistical demands for production, procurement, and delivery of safe and effective vaccines. Quad partners will work to use our shared tools and expertise, through mechanisms at institutions including the United States Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and, as appropriate, Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), as well as others.
The US, through the DFC, will work with Biological E Ltd, to finance increased capacity to support Biological E's effort to produce at least one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022.
These nations will cooperate to strengthen “last-mile” vaccination, building on existing health-security and development programmes, and across governments to coordinate and strengthen programmes in the Indo-Pacific.
Quad Climate Working Group
It will focus on:
• Cooperation, both among ourselves and with other countries, to strengthen implementation of the Paris Agreement, including to keep a Paris-aligned temperature limit within reach.
• Working together and with other countries to support, strengthen, and enhance actions globally.
• Committing to advancing low-emissions technology solutions to support emissions reduction.
• Cooperation on climate mitigation, adaptation, resilience, technology, capacity-building, and climate finance.
Quad Critical and Emerging Technology Working Group
Quad leaders recognise that a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific requires that critical and emerging technology is governed and operates according to shared interests and values.
In that spirit, they will convene a Critical and Emerging Technology Working Group, which will:
• Develop a statement of principles on technology design, development, and use.
• Facilitate coordination on technology standards development, including between our national technology standards bodies and working with a broad range of partners.
• Encourage cooperation on telecommunications deployment, diversification of equipment suppliers, and future telecommunications, including through close cooperation with our private sectors and industry.
• Facilitate cooperation to monitor trends and opportunities related to developments in critical and emerging technology, including biotechnology.
• Convene dialogues on critical technology supply chains.