India – US relations poised for decade of transformation; QUAD leaders push for rule based Indo-Pacific

By: |
September 25, 2021 1:47 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US President Joe Biden met for their first bilateral dialogue and this was followed by the first in person QUAD Leaders’ Summit, in Washington DC.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi , rule based Indo-Pacific, first bilateral dialogue, PM Modi’s 7th visit to the US, COVID-19, Defence CooperationPresident Joe Biden walks to the Quad summit with, from left, Australian PM Scott Morrison, India's Narendra Modi and Japan's Yoshihide Suga, in the East Room of the White House, on September 24 [Evan Vucci/AP Photo]

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US President Joe Biden met for their first bilateral dialogue and this was followed by the first in person QUAD Leaders’ Summit, in Washington DC. A wide range of issues including the evolving situation in Afghanistan, counter-terrorism, COVID-19, Defence Cooperation and other issues of mutual interests were on the agenda of talks between the two leaders.

“We can together make a difference globally,” PM Modi said during his talks with the US leader. This is PM Modi’s 7th visit to the US after assuming office in 2014.

He also told President Biden that under his leadership the seeds have been sown for a deeper and stronger India-US relations.

The transformation of the Indo-US is going to be based on six pillars including: Trade; Technology; Trusteeship of the environment for future generations; talent of the people of both sides; tradition which is based on the democratic tradition and values in both countries; and lastly trust as it is a Partnership of Trust.

The focus of the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden was counter-terrorism.

According to sources, “The pernicious role played by Pakistan in Afghanistan, and therefore the need for the international community to be cognizant of this, found resonance with US interlocutors.”

Ahead of the talks in Washington DC, both countries had inked an MOU on Customs Cooperation and another MOU on Health Cooperation was finalized. This is expected to be inked soon and it will help cooperation in biomedical sciences and in health.

Both sides agreed during the talks that the next round sectoral dialogues will take place soon. Dates are being worked out for the next round of Defence Policy Group; Health Dialogue and Trade Policy Forum (these will be at the Ministerial level); Homeland Security Dialogue; the Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism; and Designation Dialogue.

According to a joint statement issued at the end of the bilateral meeting, the inaugural meeting of the Industrial Security Agreement summit is expected to take place soon. This agreement inked between the two countries is expected to facilitate high-end defense industrial collaboration.

The recent announcement of co-developing air-launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative was welcomed during the talks. And both leaders urged the government and private stakeholders to use the existing ecosystems of innovation and entrepreneurship in defense industries, as this would be useful for expanding mutual defence trade as well as co-development, and co-production.

The two countries are also developing counter-terrorism technologies and are in the process of finalizing a Bilateral Framework. This framework is being formed by the US-India Counter Narcotics Working Group and it would help in efforts to combat drug trafficking, illicit narcotics production and precursor chemical supply chains.

Prime Minister Modi and the US President Joe Biden called on the Taliban to abide by UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021). Under this UN resolution, it is stated very clearly that the Afghan territory must not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter terrorists.

It was agreed by both leaders to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and also called on Taliban to allow safe and direct and unhindered access to UN and its specialized agencies to carry out relief activity and provide help to internally displaced persons.

Takeaways from the QUAD summit

The QUAD leaders have agreed to launch a Semiconductor Supply Chain Initiative; Support 5G Deployment and Diversification; Launch a Quad Senior Cyber Group; Share Satellite Data to Protect the Earth & its Waters; and Launch the Quad Fellowship that will sponsor 100 students per year

Sources have indicated that under the QUAD Vaccine Cooperation, all the member countries welcomed India’s decision to resume vaccine exports from October. And taking forward the initiative, it has been noted that by October 2021, Biological E would be producing 1 million doses of Janssen vaccine. And 50 per cent of the first consignment will be financed by India.

PM Modi was accorded due seniority and he was asked to arrive last and the first to leave at the QUAD Leaders’ summit. And, the US President referred to the comments made by PM Modi and amplified them, said sources.

At the end of the summit the members adopted a document on Quad Principles on critical and emerging technologies.

The summit was structured around four main themes: Climate; Technology and Cyber Security; COVID-19 response; Afghanistan and Regional Security.

Indo-Pacific Region

All the QUAD members at the end of the summit pledged to ensure ‘free’ and ‘inclusive’ Indo-Pacific. To deal with growing Chinese presence in the region, the four member countries agreed on a region which is inclusive and resilient.

In a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting the leaders of India, Japan, the US and Australia expressed their commitment to provide rule based order which is rooted in international law. This would help in bolstering the security and prosperity of the region.

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