The first Quad leaders’ summit on Friday will create a framework to allow the four-nation grouping to take the lead in post-Covid-19 recovery efforts, especially access to vaccines, and the creation of resilient supply chains for materials such as rare earth metals. Here is all you need to know about the summit:
• The maiden summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, convened by US President Joe Biden less than two months after he assumed office, reflects the urgency attached to coalesce the loose group to bolster cooperation on key challenges across the region and to counter a belligerent China.
• India perceives the summit as key to building on crucial partnerships to address challenges in the Indo-Pacific and securing the maritime domain.
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• Among the key initiatives expected to be on the agenda when Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his Australian and Japanese counterparts, Scott Morrison, Yoshihide Suga, gather virtually at 7pm on Friday is a “Vaccine Initiative” and a procurement and supply chain for rare earth metals.
• The Vaccine Initiative is being seen as the “most significant deliverable” from the summit as greater access to doses, especially for developing nations, will foster a quick global economic recovery.
• This pooling of capacities by Quad members will help boost global vaccine delivery, meet the demand-supply gap, especially within the Indo-Pacific, and add momentum to efforts to contain the pandemic.
• India’s role in the Vaccine Initiative will reinforce its credentials as a trusted and reliable manufacturer and supplier of medicines and expand the “Vaccine Maitri” initiative that has supplied 58.3 million doses to 69 countries so far.
• Sources said the Quad’s model for collective humanitarian action through supply of Covid-19 vaccines can also serve as a template for peace, cooperation and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, which the grouping defines as its main objective.
• The genesis of the Quad was a “core group” formed by the four countries in 2004 for a joint response to the Indian Ocean tsunami. After the US and Australia sidelined the grouping because of sensitivities linked to their relations with China, the grouping faded away from the centre stage around 2007.
• As the Indo-Pacific became a key strategic region, the Quad was revived, largely because of Japan’s efforts, in 2017 as a dialogue at the level of senior officials. India was represented by a joint secretary from the foreign ministry. In September 2019, the grouping was elevated to the level of foreign ministers as India became more comfortable with it and there was greater convergence among members on concerns related to China.