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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has concluded his visit to USA during which he held bilateral meetings with his Australian and Japanese counterparts and US President Joe Biden and his deputy Vice President Kamala Harris. Prime Minister Modi also participated in the Quad Leaders Summit in Washington DC and addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York before heading home. In the much-awaited address at UNGA Prime Minister Modi raised several key issues including regional security, rule based world order and the need for corrective measures to strengthen the effectiveness and reliability of world bodies like United Nations Organization. Referring to the ongoing situation in Afghanistan he stressed on the need to ensure that it is not used for spreading terror by those nations who use terrorism as a political tool. Terming oceans as our shared resource PM Modi urged for steps to strengthen rule-based world order. Pointing out that India has played a important role in tackling Covid pandemic he also stressed on the need for diversifying World economy. Quad Leaders summit recognised Covid Pandemic as the most immediate threat to lives and livelihoods in the whole world and pledged to donate more than 1.2 Billion vaccine doses globally in addition to the doses already financed through COVAX. They also decided to give a boost to the health security efforts and support the call for a global pandemic radar. All four Quad nation’s also announced a number of steps in various areas such as launching the Quad infrastructure coordination group and semiconductor supply chain initiative, formation of a green shipping network, sharing of satellite data to protect earth and its waters, work towards reselience against cyber threat and enable capacity building for sustainable development.

UNGA address:

  • On India and democracy: While addressing the UNGA, Prime Narendra Modi said: “For the last one and a half years, the whole world is facing the biggest epidemic in 100 years,” He further said, “I represent the mother of democracy, where there are dozens of languages, hundreds of dialects, and different lifestyles and cuisines. This is a shining example of a vibrant democracy.”
  • Taking a swipe at Pakistan, PM Modi Narendra Modi at UNGA said: “…Countries with regressive thinking that are using terrorism as a political tool need to understand that terrorism is an equally big threat for them. It has to be ensured that Afghanistan isn’t used to spread terrorism or launch terror attacks…”
  • PM on Covid-19 and vaccine manufacturing in India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi informed the UNGA that India has developed the world’s first DNA vaccine and added that the vaccine can be administered to anyone above the age of 12. “An mRNA vaccine is in the final stages of development. Indian scientists are also developing a nasal vaccine against Covid-19,” PM Modi said.
  • PM Modi further said that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught the world that the global economy be further diversified, adding that this is why the expansion of global value chains is very important. PM Modi said that the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan is “inspited by this sentiment”.
  • PM Modi, at the UNGA, extended an invitation to vaccine manufacturers from across the world to make vaccines in India. PM Modi also highlighted that India has resumed vaccine export. “While understanding the responsibility towards humanity, India has yet again started giving vaccines to those who need it,”
  • PM Modi on using ocean resources: PM Modi also spoke about the correct use of ocean resources. “Our oceans are also the lifeline of international trade. We must protect them from the race for expansion. The international community must speak in one voice to strengthen a rule-based world order,” PM Modi said at UNGA.

Quad highlights:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • This meeting builds upon the intention of the Quad member nations India, the U.S., Australia, and Japan to ensure an Indo-Pacific region “free from coercion and disputes, solved in accordance with international law”.
  • 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.
  • From New Delhi’s perspective, health concerns and economic revival remain at the very apex of the policy agenda.

Talks regarding Bilateral issues:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 asnd more.