Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Friday join his counterparts from the US, Australia and Japan for a virtual meeting. While the four countries that make up the informal 'Quadrilateral Security Dialogue' have worked together for several years now, this is the first time that the summit will be held virtually with the top leaders of the four countries.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be participating, along with Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga and President of USA Joseph R. Biden, in the first Leaders' Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework, being held virtually on March 12," the MEA said in a statement.
"Friday will be the first time Quad is meeting at the leaders level. US President Biden has made it one of his earliest multilateral engagements. It speaks the importance we place on close cooperation with our allies and partners in Indo-Pacific," said White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki on Wednesday. According to the US administration, a variety of global issues ranging from the COVID-19 challenge to the economic crisis and climate change will be discussed.
The first Leaders' Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework is expected to discuss a host of current issues, from the COVID-19 pandemic to regional crises. India's Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday said that 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.
Ahead of the meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently had a lengthy telephonic conversation with Japan's Yoshihide Suga. "We exchanged views on contemporary global challenges and agreed to further enhance our cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region," PM Modi tweeted.
Often dubbed as 'Asian NATO', China's growing influence has repeated been a topic of debate for the group. The upcoming summit assumes significance in view of the fact that the previous US administration under Donald Trump had been keen on formalising Quad grouping of the four nations to counter China's expansion and aggression in the region.
(With inputs from agencies)