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Insights into Editorial: Back in the game: Quad and India-U.S. ties

 

 

Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to the United States since President Joe Biden came to office has set an ambitious bilateral agenda and together with the leaders of Australia and Japan also moved the ball forward with the first real-life summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue mark an important step forward in India’s engagement with major global powers as it seeks to revive its economy and strategic role in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.

 

Key Takeaways from the QUAD summit 2021:

  1. The summit was structured around four main themes: Climate; Technology and Cyber Security; COVID-19 response; Afghanistan and Regional Security.
  2. The QUAD leaders have agreed to launch a Semiconductor Supply Chain Initiative; Support 5G Deployment and Diversification; Launch a Quad Senior Cyber Group; Share Satellite Data to Protect the Earth & its Waters; and Launch the Quad Fellowship that will sponsor 100 students per year.
  3. It has been indicated that under the QUAD Vaccine Cooperation, all the member countries welcomed India’s decision to resume vaccine exports from October.
  4. And taking forward the initiative, it has been noted that by October 2021, Biological E would be producing 1 million doses of Janssen vaccine. And 50 per cent of the first consignment will be financed by India.
  5. PM Modi was accorded due seniority and he was asked to arrive last and the first to leave at the QUAD Leaders’ summit.
  6. At the end of the summit the members adopted a document on Quad Principles on critical and emerging technologies.
  7. India has reason to be pleased because two of its biggest security problems – China and Pakistan – have come into sharper focus, prompting more coordination and action by Quad partners.
  8. Articulating India’s views on the Afghan crisis, PM Modi has said the global community should decide “collectively” and “thoughtfully” on according recognition to the new set-up in Afghanistan in view of questions over its acceptability as the change of power was not “inclusive”.

 

Quad to act as a force for global good: PM Modi:

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he firmly believed that the grouping of four democracies would act as a “force for global good” and ensure peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific as well as the entire world.
  2. In November 2017, India, Japan, the U.S. and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence, amidst China’s growing military presence in the strategic region.
  3. Issues of global concern, including the ongoing pandemic, climate change, technology cooperation, supply chains and security, and preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific were themes that came up at the Quad gathering.
  4. This meeting builds upon the intention of the Quad member nations India, the U.S., Australia, and Japan to ensure an Indo-Pacific regionfree from coercion and disputes, solved in accordance with international law”.
  5. While India has sought to disassociate its role as a member of the Quad from the recently announced Australia-U.K.-U.S. (AUKUS) partnership, there is little doubt that the creation of a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for Australia under the AUKUS framework will have significant and positive implications on India’s strategic calculus regarding the Indo-Pacific region.
  6. From New Delhi’s perspective, health concerns and economic revival remain at the very apex of the policy agenda.

 

Talks regarding Bilateral issues:

  1. At the confluence of those two areas was the reaffirmation by Mr. Biden that India remained a ‘Major Defence Partner’, making it a key nation with which Washington could share information and strengthen cooperation in advanced military technologies, including, for example, a recent project to co-develop air-launched unmanned aerial vehicles.
  2. Two leaders will have the opportunity to talk about counter-terrorism, the Afghanistan situation and how we can work together to fight terrorism, our common enemy, as well as about a range of regional issues and developments where we’ll have the opportunity to compare notes.
  3. At the heart of the two leaders’ meeting was the issue of vaccine availability — and a critical victory for the Biden administration as it received Mr. Modi’s assurance that as the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, India would resume supplies to the global COVAX pool under its ‘Vaccine Maitri’ programme.
  4. The breakthrough comes after turmoil in this space earlier this year, when India halted exports after facing criticism for domestic supply bottlenecks as it contended with a devastating second wave of COVID-19.
  5. Around the same time the U.S. also invoked its Defense Production Act, effectively preventing the export of raw materials for vaccine manufacture in a bid to prioritise domestic production.
  6. With both countries now moving forward on their domestic vaccination programmes, albeit with the U. still struggling to overcome vaccine hesitancy in certain States, the summit provided them a timely opportunity to take up long-pending conversations on trade, defence ties and more.

 

Conclusion:

All the QUAD members at the end of the summit pledged to ensure ‘free’ and ‘inclusive’ Indo-Pacific. To deal with growing Chinese presence in the region, the four member countries agreed on a region which is inclusive and resilient.

This is a time for India to rapidly deepen cooperative initiatives with the U.S. regarding vaccines and trade and continue engaging vigorously with the Quad for regional stability.

On the bilateral part, Prime Minister Modi and President Biden want to talk about the ways of pulling our countries even closer together at basically every level of interaction between our societies

That is the optimal strategy to navigate the uncertain global ecosystem that it now finds itself in.