As PM Modi walks over to the Quad Meet, here’s what the agenda might look like

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At the first-ever Quad Leadership Summit, held virtually in March this year, the four member countries pledged to “strengthen our cooperation on the defining challenges of our time”. crisis – the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 – and after years in which it has remained in abeyance, has been revitalized as the world grapples with another emergency – the Covid-19 pandemic. China is undoubtedly at the heart of its concerns. But from vaccines to semiconductor chips, the four leaders are expected to discuss a lot of things when they meet on September 24.

What will be most important in the minds of quad leaders?

The Quad meeting comes just over a month ago since the United States withdrew completely from Afghanistan and saw the country fall back into Taliban hands. The end of the United States’ longest military engagement and the blow to its prestige by its messy ending means Washington is exploring new geopolitical goals with renewed vigor. One example is the Joe Biden administration’s decision to host the first in-person Quad leaders meeting. But there is also the AUKUS alliance that Washington has made with Australia and the United Kingdom, which clearly shows its intention to contain China.

However, the Quad, short for Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is not a military group and India is known to resist any arrangement that would suggest it was being bracketed in any “camp” while military muscle flexion is something that doesn’t hold up. well with Japanese politics either. Which would explain why the United States rushed in with an offer of nuclear-powered submarines for Australia, at the cost of incurring the discontent of its NATO ally, France. While the decision to bring nuclear submarines to the Indo-Pacific sends a strong message to China, it also poses a question mark over the Quad’s role in resisting its aggressive movements in the region.

But as the joint statement “The Spirit of the Quad” that Quad members released after their March meeting said,

the group will seek today to face “the global devastation caused by Covid-19, the threat of climate change and the security challenges facing the region … with a renewed objective”. We can therefore assume that these would be among the key points of discussion during the Quad leaders’ meeting.

READ ALSO : Before the American Quad meeting, here’s all about the group and why China calls it “Asian NATO”

What is the Quad Commitment on Vaccines?

A “fact sheet” released by the White House following the March Quad leaders’ meeting said the consortium “will take the necessary joint measures to expand the safe and effective manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines in 2021, and will work together to strengthen and help countries in the Indo-Pacific with immunization ”. At a time of an unprecedented crisis like that of Covid-19, accelerating the production of vaccines and ensuring their widest possible distribution will strengthen the soft power of the Quad group, in particular when China has offered vaccines to several countries to push its vaccine diplomacy.

As the world’s largest vaccine maker, India is key to these plans and Quad’s partners had said they were “working collaboratively to expand the manufacture of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines at facilities in India”. But the March meeting before the second wave spiked the number of cases in the country and led India to halt vaccine exports. Reports leading up to the September meeting had indicated that the United States wanted India to resume vaccine exports. A few days before the meeting, India announced that it would again be sending vaccines to other countries.

As part of efforts to increase production, the United States said in March it would fund the production of one billion doses of vaccine by Hyderabad-based Biological E by the end of 2022, while the Japan had also said it would provide loans for the purpose. The Quad meeting could see leaders discussing plans to expand vaccine production while India could take up the issue of patents and production licenses.

What about technology?

Days before the meeting, a report from the Japanese daily Nikkei said that the draft joint statement by Quad leaders – US President Joe Biden and Australian, Japanese and Indian Prime Ministers Scott Morrison, Yoshihide Suga, Narendra Modi, respectively – will emphasize the importance of “resilient, diverse and secure technological supply chains for hardware, software and services”.

In fact, following their virtual meeting in March, Quad executives said they would set up a “Critical and Emerging Technologies Task Force” with the goal of “a free, open Indo-Pacific. , inclusive and resilient requires that critics and emerging technology is governed and operates according to shared interests and values ​​”.

To that extent, they said that member countries would develop principles governing the design, development and use of technologies and “encourage cooperation on telecommunications deployment, equipment supplier diversification and future telecommunications, including including through close cooperation with our private sectors and industry “. The experts therefore await discussions on these subjects at the next meeting.

What else could the meeting cover?

Climate change would also be a major talking point for leaders given pressure from Prime Minister Modi for clean energy in India, while President Biden is reportedly keen to get U.S. clean energy plans back on track after the aggressive rejection of his predecessor Donald Trump of climate commitments.

The march’s statement said Quad members were “united in recognizing that climate change is a global priority and will work to strengthen climate actions by all nations, including keeping a temperature limit close at hand. aligned with Paris “. With the COP-26 meeting of nations to be held in Glasgow later this year, Quad members have said they hope for its success.

Quad leaders are expected to discuss ways in which countries can cooperate to meet emissions targets agreed under the Paris climate agreement and explore “low-emission technological solutions to support emission reductions.” , among others. Capacity building and climate finance could also be areas on which leaders engage.

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