This Article is From Mar 05, 2021

PM Modi, Biden May Meet Virtually As Australian PM Announces 'Quad' Event

The "Quad" or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is an informal strategic forum of the US, Japan, Australia, and India, was revived in 2017 as a buffer against Beijing. The Quad remains a strong focus for the four nations that have each had conflicts with China in recent years.

PM Modi, Biden May Meet Virtually As Australian PM Announces 'Quad' Event

This could be PM Modi's first meeting with Joe Biden since he took over as US President.

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden may meet when leaders of the "Quad" bloc of US, India, Japan and Australia come together in a virtual meeting teased by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday.

This could be PM Modi's first meeting with Biden since he took over as US President in November, even though they spoke on the phone after the Democrat victory.

The Prime Minister's Office has not officially confirmed such a meeting yet.

However, the Australian PM announced they will all be present together as the four nations meet in continuing efforts to counter China's influence.

"It will be the first ever such gathering. I have already had bilateral discussions about this with Narendra Modi and Yoshihide Suga, the Prime Minister of Japan, and of course the Prime Minister of India. And of course we're looking forward to those discussions and follow-up face-to-face meetings as well," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said without giving details on the timing of the talks, expected to be held virtually, according to Bloomberg.

"It will be four leaders, four countries, working together constructively for the peace, prosperity and stability of the Indo-Pacific," Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney. Australia has suffered a hit in trade because of deteriorating relations with China.

Mr Morrison said he had discussed arrangements with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in recent weeks and that he expected the talks would be followed by face-to-face meetings.

"The Quad is very central to the United States and our thinking about the region, and looking at the Indo-Pacific also through the prism of our Asean partners and their vision of the Indo-Pacific," Mr Morrison said, referring to the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The "Quad" or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is an informal strategic forum of the US, Japan, Australia, and India, was revived in 2017 as a buffer against Beijing. The Quad remains a strong focus for the four nations that have each had conflicts with China in recent years.

President Biden's first conversation with PM Modi took place on the phone on February 8, days after he was sworn in on January 20. The two leaders agreed to continue close cooperation on climate change, terrorism, and freedom of navigation. "The President underscored his desire to defend democratic institutions and norms around the world and noted that a shared commitment to democratic values is the bedrock for the US-India relationship," the White House said in a readout of the call.

The two leaders also discussed that they would continue to cooperate and promote a "free and open Indo-Pacific" and committed to strengthen regional architecture through the Quad.