Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with his counterparts from Australia and Japan on Friday attended the first in-person meeting of Quad leaders hosted by US President Joe Biden during which they plan to discuss issues like climate change, Covid-19 pandemic and challenges in the Indo Pacific, amidst China's growing military presence in the strategic region.
In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence.
At the invitation of President Biden, Prime Minister Modi and his counterparts Scott Morrison from Australia and Yoshihide Suga from Japan have gathered in the American capital for the first-ever in-person Quad summit at the White House.
In his opening remarks, President Biden said the four democracies have come together to take on common challenges from Covid to climate.
"We know how to get things done and are up to the challenge," he said.
Prime Minister Modi said he was "confident that our participation in Quad will establish peace and prosperity in the world."
During the summit, the four leaders are expected to discuss promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific, address the climate crisis and advance practical cooperation on areas like combatting Covid-19.
Ahead of the summit, the White House said that the Quad leaders would announce a new working group on space, a supply chain initiative and a 5G deployment and diversification effort apart from discussing issues like challenges in the Indo Pacific, climate change and Covid-19 pandemic during their historic meeting.
Quad leaders are also planning to roll out vaccine deliverables and announce a series of measures in the field of healthcare and infrastructure sector, officials said.
India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific against the backdrop of China's rising military manoeuvring in the region.
China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
Ahead of the Quad summit, Prime Minister Modi separately met his Australian and Japanese counterparts on Thursday and they reaffirmed the importance of maritime security towards the realisation of a "free and open" Indo-Pacific.