Quad Erat Demonstrandrum: Concert of four democracies stand up to China without mentioning it – World News
A free and open Indo-Pacific region was the common theme in brief remarks by the four leaders — President Joe Biden of US, Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India, Scott Morrison of Australia, Yoshihide Suga of Japan — as they emphasized their respective country’s vision and priorities, suggesting that while the formation is reading from the same play book, they are not necessarily on the same page yet.
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While Prime Minister Modi went beyond the Indo-Pacific region and said Quad would be a “force for global good,” Australia’s Scott Morrison stayed in the Indo-Pacific region, saying Australia wanted a region free of coercion, an implicit reference to China, which no leader spoke of directly. Surprisingly, Japan’s PM Suga brought a bilateral trade issue with the US, export of Japanese rice and food products, to the table.
The four countries are expected to issue a joint statement or declaration later in the day outlining spheres of cooperation — which will be sans a direct military element — including in areas such as 5G technology, climate change, critical infrastructure, and supply chains, while also announcing a stem fellowship for students from the four countries, which President Biden briefly touched upon.
Notwithstanding minor wrinkles — including a misspelling of Hindi at the venue and jokes about Indian and Japanese reporters in one corner and American and Australian reporters in an another — the summit struck a positive tone, with officials saying on the sidelines that the formation “stands for something rather than against something.”
Despite repeated denials that there is a military dimension to the Quad cooperation, the leaders are expected to discuss security in the Indo-Pacific region, including Afghanistan, lending some credence to the Chinese description of Quad as an “Indo-Pacific NATO.” Japanese media said Prime Minister Suga also intends to discuss North Korea’s ballistic missile launches.