Special Content


Issue No 33, 13-19 November 2021

Quad Leaders’ Summit: A Force For Global Good

On September 24, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison, and Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga had the first-ever in-person Leaders’ Summit of the Quad. The Summit followed the leaders’ inaugural virtual meeting in March 2021.

What is Quad?

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad is “a diplomatic (and strategic) network of four countries—India, Australia, Japan, and the United States—committed to supporting an open, inclusive and resilient region.”

 The establishment of the Quad goes back to 2007 by the then Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, US Vice President Dick Cheney, and the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh. The Quad was discontinued after the withdrawal of Australia during Kevin Rudd’s tenure as the Prime Minister. However, during the 2017 ASEAN Summits, the leaders of the four countries (Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese PM Abe, Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull, and US President Donald Trump) agreed to revive the quadrilateral alliance.

The aims of the group include safeguarding their shared interests in the Indo-Pacific region. It complements their other bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation, including with ASEAN. Quad partners are supporters of ASEAN’s centrality, the ASEAN-led architecture and ASEAN’s outlook on IndoPacific.

The Quad Leaders’ Summit built on the extensive engagement by Quad Foreign Ministers, who have met three times. The last Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held virtually on 18 February 2021, preceded by meetings in Tokyo in October 2020 and New York in September 2019.

Take-away from the first in-person Summit

The Quad has a positive, practical agenda to respond to the defining challenges of our time, including critical and emerging technologies, cyber security, climate change, infrastructure, maritime security, countering disinformation, counterterrorism, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The September Summit was broadly focused on such various global challenges including ways to ensure a free, open, and inclusive IndoPacific. The four countries also deliberated and reviewed the COVID-19 vaccine initiative which was launched earlier this March.

1.      COVID and Global Health: In March, Quad leaders launched the Quad Vaccine Partnership to help enhance equitable access to safe and effective vaccines in the Indo-Pacific and the world. Since March, the Quad has taken bold actions to expand safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity, donated vaccines, and worked together to assist the IndoPacific in responding to the pandemic. The Quad Vaccine Experts Group remains the heart of cooperation, meeting regularly to brief on the latest pandemic trends and coordinate its collective COVID19 response across the Indo-Pacific by piloting the Quad Partnership COVID-19 dashboard.

   The Quad countries have pledged to donate more than 1.2 billion vaccine doses globally in addition to the doses financed through COVAX. Till September 25, 2021 they have collectively delivered over 79 million safe and effective vaccine doses to the Indo-Pacific region.

 During the meeting, India announced its decision to resume exports of safe and effective COVID19 vaccines, including to COVAX, which had begun last month under its Vaccine Maitri programme.The programme is a humanitarian initiative of the government of India to provide COVID-19 vaccine to other countries in the world.

 Through $3.3 billion in the COVID19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan program, Japan will continue to help regional countries to procure safe, effective, and qualityassured vaccines. Australia will deliver $212 million in grant aid to purchase vaccines for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. In addition, Australia will allocate $219 million to support last-mile vaccine rollouts and lead in coordinating the Quad’s lastmile delivery efforts in those regions. Japan will work with India to enhance key investments of approximately $100 million in the healthcare sector related to COVID-19, including vaccine and treatment drugs.

2.      Infrastructure: Building on the G7’s announcement of Build Back Better World (B3W)—an infrastructure partnership focused on digital connectivity, climate, health and health security, and gender equality infrastructure—the Quad will rally expertise, capacity, and influence to strengthen ongoing infrastructure initiatives in the region and identify new opportunities to meet the needs there.

 Building on existing leadership from Quad partners on highstandards infrastructure, a senior Quad Infrastructure Coordination Group will be formed which will meet regularly to share assessments of regional infrastructure needs and coordinate respective approaches to deliver transparent, high-standards infrastructure. The group will also coordinate technical assistance and capacity-building efforts, including with regional partners, to ensure that the efforts are mutually reinforcing and complementary in meeting the significant infrastructure demand in the Indo-Pacific.

3.      Indo-Pacific Security: The Quad members have reiterated the need to promote an open rules-based order, rooted in international law to advance security and prosperity and counter threats to both in the Indo-Pacific and beyond The joint statement said that the countries will “continue to prioritize the role of international law in the maritime domain, particularly as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and facilitate collaboration, including in maritime security, to meet challenges to the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas.”

4.      Critical and Emerging Technologies: The Quad will launch a Semiconductor Supply Chain Initiative to map capacity, identify vulnerabilities, and bolster supplychain security for semiconductors and their vital components. Quad partners will also jointly facilitate enabling environments for 5G diversification, including with efforts related to testing and test facilities.

5.      Cybersecurity: To build on the longstanding collaboration on cybersecurity, the Quad will launch new efforts to bolster critical-infrastructure resilience against cyber threats by bringing together the expertise of our nations to drive domestic and international best practices. The Quad aims to advance work between government and industry on driving continuous improvements in areas including adoption and implementation of shared cyber standards; develop secure software; build workforce and talent; and promote the scalability and cybersecurity of secure and trustworthy digital infrastructure.

6.      Space and Climate Change: The Quad will begin space cooperation, in particular, to exchange satellite data, focus on monitoring and adapting to climate change, disaster preparedness, and responding to challenges in shared domains. Sharing such data will help the cooperation to analyse climatechange risks and work towards the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources, better adapt to climate change and to build capacity in other Indo-Pacific states that are at grave climate risk, in coordination with the Quad Climate Working group. The Quad countries will also enable capacity-building in spacerelated domains in other Indo-Pacific countries to manage risks and challenges.To address the climate crisis with the urgency the August Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report findings demand, Quad countries will focus their efforts on the themes of climate ambition, including working on 2030 targets for national emissions and renewable energy, clean-energy innovation and deployment, as well as adaptation, resilience, and preparedness. The Quad will form a Green-Shipping Network, meaning deploying greenport infrastructure and cleanbunkering fuels. The alliance will also establish a Clean-Hydrogen Partnership to strengthen and reduce costs across all elements of the clean-hydrogen value chain. In addition, the Quad countries will convene a Climate and Information Services Task Force and build a new technical facility through the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure that will provide technical assistance in small island developing states.

7.      People-to-People Exchange and Education: In order to cultivate nextgeneration STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) talent, the Quad has announced the Quad Fellowship—a first-of-its-kind scholarship program that will develop a network of science and technology experts committed to advancing innovation and collaboration in the private, public, and academic sectors, in their own nations and among Quad countries. The Fellowship will sponsor 100 students per year—25 from each Quad country—to pursue master’s and doctoral degrees at leading STEM graduate universities in the United States.

(Compiled by Annesha Banerjee & Anuja Bhardwajan)

Source : PIB