NEW DELHI / WASHINGTON: The most important aspect of the Quad in-person summit scheduled for Friday is the fact that it will bring together four leaders in the midst of a pandemic, signaling the strategic imperative of the move. While it may not have a name, the summit will showcase the group’s primary intention: to balance China.
US President Joe Biden will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Quad meeting in Washington on Friday, the White House revealed Monday. While Modi is scheduled to hold separate bilateral meetings with all Quad leaders, Biden will also meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
The bilateral agreements are expected to provide clarity, among other things, on the new AUKUS alliance involving Australia, the UK and the US, whose aim is apparently to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region. While AUKUS is largely a military alliance involving top-tier military technology transfer, the Quad, which also aims to counter China, is primarily economic in orientation.
The Quad meeting is likely to intensify cooperation in areas first identified during the March virtual summit of the four leaders: vaccines, critical technologies and climate change. Sources said the Biden administration will do everything it can to put the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan behind and focus on the turn to Asia.
In the area of technologies, cybersecurity and reliable supply chains will be highlighted. US NSA MP Anne Neuberger visited India for detailed discussions on cybersecurity and emerging technologies with Indian officials at UIDAI and private sector entities in Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
The attempt is to harmonize standards and benchmarks in the first phase, but the goal is to cooperate in building production chains that bypass China. Japan and the United States will be critical here, especially in manufacturing, while India brings design and software skills.
Nikkei took a look at the joint statement to be issued at the end of the summit, which is expected to focus on creating reliable supply chains for semiconductors. He said the statement will confirm that “resilient, diverse and secure technology supply chains for hardware, software and services” are vital to their shared national interests. Indian officials said semiconductors would be just one of many different aspects of critical technologies to be discussed.