Modi, Biden, Morrison, and Suga may meet for the first-ever QUAD leaders’ summit this month

Modi, Biden, Morrison, and Suga may meet for the first-ever QUAD leaders’ summit this month
(L-R) Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide SugaWikipedia/WhiteHouse/Paralympics/BI India
  • The first-ever meeting of QUAD leaders may reportedly take place within this month.
  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed that it is likely to take place ‘soon’ and that he has already had bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan’s Yoshihide Suga about the same.
  • The development comes at a time when India and China are finally disengaging after a 10-month long faceoff along their shared border.
The ‘QUAD’ is a security dialogue between the US, India, Japan and Australia. Till now all stakeholders have asserted that it's nothing more than an informal gathering of allies. But things may be ready to change as the QUAD gets ready to host its first-ever leaders’ summit soon.

People familiar with the matter told Axios that the meeting could be held virtually in March itself.

This means that, for the first time ever, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the newly elected US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese head of state Yoshihide Suga will be meeting under the umbrella of the QUAD.

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"I am looking forward to that first gathering of quad leaders. It will be the first-ever gathering of quad leaders,” Morrison told reporters confirming the plans. “I already had bilateral discussions with Narendra Modi and Yoshihide Suga, the Prime Minister of Japan and Prime Minister of India."

Why does a meeting of QUAD leaders matter?
Biden has just been sworn in as President and he has already spoken to each head of state individually. Putting a QUAD meeting on his schedule gives the US President an opportunity to address all of them as a collective. After all, his niche is diplomatic relations.

While the QUAD has never officially been called anti-China, its moves have been to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

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How India proceeds in this situation will be key. It is just coming off a heated stand-off against China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The two Asian giants were caught in border tensions for over 10 months after a clash in Galwan Valley left twenty Indian soldiers dead and at least four casualties on the Chinese side — the People Liberation Army (PLA) has not yet issued an exact number of deaths during the incident.

In February, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that China and India have successfully reached an agreement to disengage from the friction points along the southern banks of the Pangong Tso Lake.

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Anything to upset the delicate peace that the two countries have been able to achieve may throw a wrench in their plans.

However, “China’s growing ambitions, its increasingly aggressive foreign policy posture, and its border skirmishes with New Delhi have evoked a disconcerting feeling, forcing India to focus its energies on the rise of Beijing and establish itself in a leading role in the Indo-Pacific,” writes Observer Research Foundation’s ( ORF) Harsh V. Pant.

According to him, India is following the lead of several other countries in the Indo-Pacific and hardening its policy posture versus China.
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