- It is not yet known if PM Modi, Joe Biden will have an exclusive meeting
- Agreements will focus on Indian vaccine makers for American pharma giants
- The virtual engagement is expected to last for about two hours
Here's your 10-point cheatsheet to the Quad summit:
The Summit will provide an opportunity to discuss a wide range of regional and global issues of shared interest," PM Modi tweeted a short while ago.
A key focus at the summit will be the vaccine initiative under which anti-Covid vaccines will be developed in the US, manufactured in India, financed by Japan and US, and supported by Australia. The agreements will focus particularly on Indian vaccine manufacturers for American pharma giants Novavax Inc and Johnson & Johnson, a US official said.
"The leaders will also discuss ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19 pandemic and explore opportunities for collaboration in ensuring safe, equitable and affordable vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region," Foreign Minisry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava tweeted. The agenda of the meeting is also up on PM Modi's official website, the link of which the Prime Minister tweeted today, ahead of the summit.
India has urged the three other Quad nations to invest in its vaccine production capacity, a government source told Reuters, to counter China's vaccine diplomacy.
The four countries plan to establish a series of working groups that will focus on climate change, critical and emerging technologies, including working to set technology standards and norms and jointly developing some of the critical technologies of the future, officials said.
Calling it a "historic moment", Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the "Quad" countries would discuss security challenges across the Indo-Pacific, climate change and efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region. "There have been many other meetings, but when governments come together at the highest level, this shows a whole new level of cooperation to create a new anchor for peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific," he said.
Another point of discussion during the meeting will be on securing rare earth metals that are essential to the production of electric car motors and other products, the Nikkei newspaper reported. According to the report, China currently produces nearly 60 per cent of the world's rare earth metals, and its market power has posed supply concerns.
The virtual engagement, that starts at around 7 pm local time, is expected to last for about two hours and lay the groundwork for an in-person meeting later in the year, a senior US official told news agency Reuters this week.
PM Modi and his Japanese counterpart spoke on the phone on Tuesday. Apart from India-Japan ties, they discussed the Quad summit. The Japanese government said Mr Yoshihide expressed serious concerns regarding "unilateral attempts" to change the status quo in the East and South China Sea, in a clear reference to China.
The "Quad" or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is an informal strategic forum of the US, Japan, Australia, and India. It 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. In November, the Quad nations came together to participate in a two-phase joint military exercise, Malabar 2020, in the Bay of Bengal and in the Arabian Sea.
(With inputs from Reuters and PTI)