Quod Erat Demonstratum (QED): Biden talks up Quad to counter China – Times of India

WASHINGTON: Demonstrating that his predecessor’s revival of “quad” — a grouping of four nations including India, Japan, and Australia aimed at countering Beijing — is here to stay, US President Joe Biden on Friday told a virtual meeting of its leaders that he will work with them to ensure stability in the region in the face of Chinese coercion.
“A free and open Indo-Pacific is essential to each of our futures, our countries. This is a group particularly important because it is dedicated to the practical solutions and concrete results,” Biden told his counterparts from the three other countries in the first conclave of leaders of the Quad, amid their continuing disquiet about China’s depredations in the region.
“We know our commitments … Our region is governed by international law, committed to all the universal values and free from coercion but I am optimistic about our prospect,” Biden added without explicitly mentioning China, whose belligerent rise has caused unease among its more pacific neighbors.
The idea of quad was first floated in 2007 by then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but it picked up steam and heft only in 2017 — after Australia bailed out for a few years before rejoining — with President Trump pitching it as a security arrangement in the face of growing Chinese belligerence. With the hosting of the virtual summit in one of his first multilateral foreign policy outreaches, Biden has shown he is not going to dump every initiative of his predecessor.
The US President indicated at the same time that the Quad alliance was not just a security arrangement but would engage on a wide range of issues with the war on Covid clearly at the top of his mind.
Ahead of the meeting, US officials said the alliance would launch an ambitious new joint partnership that is going to boost vaccine manufacturing and global benefits, strengthen vaccinations to benefit the entire Indo-Pacific. “The United States, working closely with India and Japan, have put together complex financing vehicles that will allow for a very substantial, frankly dramatic, increase in the capacity to create vaccines, up to a billion by 2022,” a senior administration official said on a briefing call with reporters.
Biden has said the US is going to share any surplus with the rest of the world amid disquiet in many countries that Washington and other wealthy nations are cornering supplies.
“It’s great to see you,” Biden told Prime Minister Modi of India, a vital cog in the fight against Covid pumping out vaccines, syringes, and other equipment.
Biden’s convening of the virtual summit followed a similar meeting of foreign ministers of the Quad countries on February 18 during which they vowed to uphold a rules-based international order underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes.

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