Ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be meeting with leaders of Russia, China and Iran and other Central Asian countries, next week senior officers of the QUAD are meeting in New Delhi.
New Delhi will be the venue of the first “Senior Officers Meeting” (SOM) of the QUAD member countries meeting scheduled for September 5-6 where senior officers from India, the US, Japan and Australia will meet. The meeting comes close on the heels of the India-Japan 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue where defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar will be leaving for Tokyo, and later in September Prime Minister Modi will leave for the SCO meeting in Uzbekistan.
Prime Minister Modi will attend SCO Summit
Armies of India and China continue to be locked in a standoff for more than two years now and efforts are on to resolve the pending friction points between the sides.
Russia and Ukraine continue the war which is expected to have a wider impact on food and energy security globally.
Though nothing has been announced officially, with these in the background, during the SCO meeting from September 15-16 Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is also likely to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and leaders of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
The meetings with the leaders, especially with the Russian President Putin will be keenly watched by the West as well as the QUAD members. PM Modi will be leaving for Tokyo later in the month to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.
The QUAD SOM
This meeting comes at a time when the tensions between China and Taiwan have heightened and China and the US followed by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visit to the island nation.
The meeting of the QUAD SOM is one of the several meetings between India and its Indo-Pacific partners in the coming week and is viewed as India’s “balancing” move ahead of the SCO meeting later.
On Monday and Tuesday, when SOMs will meet in New Delhi the focus will be on reviewing the progress in a number of initiatives which were discussed earlier this year in Tokyo, and since the meeting comes at a time when Russia and Ukraine are at war – food and energy security will also be the focus. And the SOMs will explore other avenues for deepening ties and also working on the agenda for the next QUAD meeting in Australia next year.
Who will be present?
Director General of the Foreign Policy Bureau in Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Keiichi Ichikawa and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Deputy Secretary Justin Hayhurst will be representing their countries during the two days meetings.
India-US 2+2 “Inter-sessional” meeting
Officials from the Ministry of Defence and Ministry External Affairs from India will be present at the India-US 2+2 “inter-sessional” meeting next week. The US side will be led by the US Assistant Secretary of States for South and Central Asia Donald Lu. And on the agenda are bilateral issues including some of the pending defence deals like the 30 Predator drones.
The two sides are also likely to focus on maritime cooperation between the two countries as well as with the QUAD members. Joint development and production of different military platforms, energy and food security too are likely to be discussed. “Such inter-sessional meetings set the agenda for the next round of 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between the two countries later,” explained a senior officer.
Diplomatically busy week ahead
The Minister of External Affairs and Defence are heading to Tokyo next week for the 2+2 Ministerial where the agenda will be regional and global issues of mutual interest and also joint production and development of military platforms, space and deepening of maritime security.
According to reports, Minister of Commerce Piyush Goyal is heading to attend the third Indo-Pacific Economic Forum ministerial meeting (IPEF) in Los Angeles. This meeting is taking place in person for the first time since the time of its launch by the US President Joe Biden earlier this year in May. In the US, the commerce minister will also have bilateral trade talks with his counterpart.
Visit of the Prime minister of Bangladesh (September 5-8)
The week starts with the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh visiting New Delhi for bilateral talks with Prime Minister Modi and then visiting Ajmer to offer prayers at Ajmer Sharif. In New Delhi she is also expected to offer prayers at Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Dargah.
Official Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi says
The 2+2 mechanisms India shares with the QUAD member countries and Russia.
On the India-Japan 2+2 Ministerial, responding to media queries at the weekly briefing earlier this week he said, “The 2+2 meeting with Japan which is one of the few countries we do and the US is obviously the other.” India-US 2+2 Ministerial was the first ever such dialogue between the two countries.
Not confirming the dates for the forthcoming inter-sessional 2+2 meeting, the official spokesperson stated that “I think this is a reflection of the close coordination and collaboration that we have with our partners — you know, the Quad partners, but also bilateral partners.”