Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the first virtual summit of the "Quad" group of nations with US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday, March 12.
According to NDTV, the virtual summit, which attempts to balance China's growing military and economic strength, would effectively concentrate on the COVID-19 vaccination plan to cope with the pandemic.
The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), also known as Quad, is an inter-governmental security forum comprised of India, the US, Japan, and Australia. The Quad's member countries hold summits, exchange information, and conduct military exercises.
The Quad, which former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe first proposed in 2007, has met regularly at the working and foreign ministers levels and will meet for the first time at the head of the state level on Friday to maintain an accessible, stable, and sustainable Indo-Pacific region.
The summit's primary focus will be anti-COVID vaccines produced in the United States, manufactured in India, financed by Japan and the United States, and supported by Australia.
As per a US official, the deals will concentrate on Indian vaccine manufacturers for American pharma giants Novavax Inc and Johnson & Johnson.
Reportedly, to counter China's vaccine diplomacy, India has urged the three other Quad nations to invest in their vaccine development capacity.
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison called it a "historic moment" and said the Quad countries would examine security challenges across the Indo-Pacific, climate change, and efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
"There have been several other meetings, but when governments meet at the highest level, it reveals a whole new level of coordination to establish a new anchor for peace and security in the Indo-Pacific," Morrison said.
The meeting will also concentrate on acquiring rare earth metals required to manufacture electric car motors and other goods, NDTV reported.
Speaking to the media, a senior US official said the virtual meeting would last about two hours and pave the groundwork for an in-person meeting later this year. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi and his Japanese counterpart interacted on the phone. They discussed the Quad Summit in addition to India-Japan ties.
Japanese Prime Minister voiced significant concerns over "unilateral efforts" to shift the East and South China Seas' status quo. The Quad nations came together in November for Malabar 2020, a two-phase joint military exercise in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.