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March 14, 2021

First Quad meeting commits a billion doses, launches working groups

March 14, 2021

WASHINGTON: The first ever meeting of the Quad leaders has committed to deliver up to one billion coronavirus vaccine doses available to Asean, the Indo-Pacific and beyond by the end of next year.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, otherwise known as the Quad, is an informal strategic forum between the United States, Japan, Australia and India. The first summit meeting took place virtually on Friday where the members discussed challenges posed by China and “they made clear that none of them have any illusions about China,” the National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said adding that “today was not fundamentally about China. Much of the focus was on pressing global crises, including the climate crisis and COVID-19.”

The NSA declared the Quad as a critical part of the architecture of the Indi-Pacific, and that the summit has kicked off an intensive stretch of diplomacy in the region. Briefing the media after the meeting, he announced that the Quad leaders will hold an in-person summit later this year. The leaders also launched a set of working groups, including an emerging technology group that will help set standards in key technologies like 5G and artificial intelligence, and another on Cyber that will keep the four countries facing the growing threat.

During the meeting the leaders addressed key regional issues including freedom of navigation and freedom from coercion in the South and East China seas, the DPRK nuclear issue, and the coup and violent repression in Burma, the NSA said. Terming the event historic, he further said that the leaders discussed competition of models between autocracy and democracy and expressed confidence that “democracy is the best system to deliver for people and to meet the economic, social and technological challenges of the twenty first century.”

While Japanese Prime Minister Yoshinde Suga, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime MInister Narendra Modi were in attendance, US President Joe Biden had vice-president Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in the room as well.