Indian prime minister Narendra Modi at the Quad summit in Washington DC, the US, on Friday, September 24, 2021. (ANI Photo)
LEADERS of the member-countries of Quad security forum on Friday (24) met in Washington for its first in-person summit where they pledged to work together to ensure peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and the world.
The leaders of the US, India, Australia and Japan announced a slew of measures on the occasion to address the common challenges the group faces, amid muscle-flexing by an assertive China in the strategically important region.
In his short address on the occasion, Modi said the Quad in a way would play a role as “force for global good”. He expressed confidence that the forum featuring four democracies will ensure peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific in particular and world in general.
“It gives me great pleasure to discuss with my friends wide ranging topics from supply chains to global security, from climate action to Covid response, to cooperation in the field of technology. A Quad, in a sense, will play the role of a force for global good. I’m confident that our cooperation, under Quad, will ensure prosperity and peace in the Indo Pacific and in the world,” he said.
Biden calls Modi ‘my friend’
Modi, who is currently on a three-day tour of the US, was the first leader to be invited by US president Joe Biden to address the gathering held in the East Room of the White House. Biden, who had a bilateral meeting with Modi before the summit that went on for more than an hour, called the Indian prime minister “my friend”.
Biden, who opened the summit, said the four democracies have come together to take on common challenges from Covid to climate.
“This group has democratic partners who share world views and have common vision for the future,” he said.
“When we met six months ago, we made a concrete commitment to advance our shared positive agenda for free and open up the session. Today we are proud to say that we’re making progress,” Biden said, referring to the virtual meeting the four leaders held in March this year.
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and his Japanese counterpart Suga were the two other leaders in the meeting.
The US president added that while the vaccine initiative is on track, the Quad is taking action on a key issue like climate change with a partnership for zero-emission shipping.
“Today, we’re also launching a new quad fellowship for students from each of our five countries to pursue advanced degrees in leading Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programmes through the United States,” the Democratic leader said.
Modi thanked Biden for taking initiative to organise the first-ever in-person summit of Quad. He said the four countries came together for the first time in 2004 to extend support to the Indo-Pacific region. “Today, when the world is grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, we are meeting once again as Quad and working in the interest of humanity,” he said, adding the grouping’s vaccine initiative is going to help nations in the Indo-Pacific region.
Morrison said that the Indo-Pacific region should be free from coercion and disputes should be resolved under international law, taking an indirect dig at China.
“We believe in a free and open Indo Pacific, because we know that the limits are strong, stable, and prosperous freedom to realise their hopes and dreams to live in a liberal free society,” he said.
Prime minister Suga, like the other three leaders, stressed the importance of the first ever in-person Quad Summit, saying “this event demonstrates strong solidarity between our four nations and an unwavering commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific”.