Quad Summit: ‘Free’ Indo-Pacific Region, Covid Vaccines And More
India would permit the export of 8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of October.
Leaders of India, Japan, the US, and Australia took part in the quad summit which was held in the East Room of the White House on Friday. One of the most important results of the summit was the pledge to pursue a free and open Indo-Pacific region “undaunted by coercion”, that presented a united front amid shared concerns about China.
“ We stand for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity of states,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, U.S. President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a joint statement after the talks.
Though China was not heard in the remarks made by the Quad leaders or in the joint state and a fact sheet issued post the meeting, it is understood that Beijing was in their minds.
Their statement made frequent mention of the leaders’ insistence on rules-based behavior in a region where China has been trying to flex its muscles.
The Quad leaders also raised support for small island states, mainly the ones in the Pacific, in order to enhance their economic and environmental resilience.
Suga mentions that the meeting also involved discussions on covid vaccines, clean energy, and space.
The plan to provide a billion doses to Asia by the west till the end of 2022 faced challenges when India stopped exports during the massive hit of Covid in their second wave in April this year.
During this meeting, Modi told his fellow Quad leaders India would permit the export of 8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of October under a deal the grouping reached in March to supply a billion doses to the Indo-Pacific, India’s foreign secretary said.
India has said to restart vaccine exports soon and will prioritize the COVAX international vaccine initiative and neighboring countries.
Another important discussion was on the 5G partnership and plans to track climate change.
The meeting came just over a week after the United States, Britain, and Australia announced an AUKUS security pact that will provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, a move roundly denounced by Beijing.
Suga mentioned in the meeting that Japan thought of the AUKUS partnership to be “taking an important role for the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region.”
The joint statement also stated, “Acknowledging the role of governments in fostering an enabling environment for 5G diversification, we will work together to facilitate public-private cooperation and demonstrate in 2022 the scalability and cyber security of open, standards-based technology.”
On Friday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian appeared to criticize the Quad.
Lijian said, “A closed, exclusive clique targeting other countries runs counter to the trend of the times and the aspirations of regional countries. It will find no support and is doomed to fail.”
China denounced the Quad as a Cold War construct and said the AUKUS alliance would intensify a regional arms race.
It is questionable to state that many statements provided by the Quad leaders are contradictory to the current scenario of the world, leaving the world to wonder which side would these decisions drop.