At Tokyo summit, PM Narendra Modi calls Quad a 'force for good'

In his opening remarks at the summit, Prime Minister Modi said the Quad has gained a significant place at the world stage in a short span of time

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 12:05 PM IST
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The Quad leaders's summit, with (left-right) Australian PM Anthony Albanese, US President Joe Biden, Japanese PM Fumio Kishida and Indian PM Narendra Modi | Twitter/@MEAIndia

The mutual trust and determination among the Quad member countries is giving new energy to democratic forces and encouraging a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Tuesday at the second in-person summit of the four-nation grouping.

The prime minister said Quad is moving ahead with a constructive agenda for the Indo-Pacific which will further strengthen its image of a "force for good".

In his opening remarks at the summit, Prime Minister Modi said the Quad has gained a significant place at the world stage in a short span of time.

"We have increased coordination in areas of vaccine delivery, climate action, supply chain resilience, disaster response, economic cooperation and adverse situations arising out of COVID-19 pandemic,'' he said.

He said the cooperation among the Quad countries in various areas is contributing to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Modi made the remarks in presence of US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and newly elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

The top leaders are gathering for the fourth time - they have already met once in Washington last September and twice virtually - in less than two years. That underscores the importance of the Quad, which was largely just a concept until 2017.

That year, then-US President Donald Trump revived the group in a bid to take on China in its own backyard.

The summit takes place at a time when relations between China and the member countries of the Quad have become tense in the last few years, with Beijing increasingly challenging democratic values and resorting to coercive trade practices.

Looming over the Quad leaders’ talks will be Biden’s blunt statement on Monday that the U.S. would intervene militarily if China were to invade Taiwan, saying the burden to protect Taiwan is “even stronger’ after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The White House insists that Biden’s unusually forceful comments about Taiwan did not amount to a shift in U.S. policy toward the self-ruled island that China claims as its own.

The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which has governed U.S. relations with the island, does not require the U.S. to step in militarily if China invades, but makes it American policy to ensure Taiwan has the resources to defend itself and to prevent any unilateral change of status by Beijing.

China has become increasingly assertive in the region, with ongoing maritime disputes with several countries and a land boundary conflict with India.

Beijing is investing heavily in strengthening its navy and its recent security pact with the Solomon Islands has stoked fears in Australia. A leaked draft of the agreement - which was verified by the Australian government - said Chinese warships would be permitted to dock on the islands and that Beijing could send security forces "to assist in maintaining social order".

(with inputs from agencies)

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