Washington: US President Joe Biden would host the first-ever in-person Quad summit on September 24 which will be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Japanese premier Yoshihide Suga, the White House announced on Monday.
The four leaders would discuss deepening their ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas like combatting COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific, the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
In Beijing, China hit out at the upcoming first-ever Quad summit to be hosted by Biden, saying the formation of "cliques" targeting other countries "won’t be popular" and has "no future".
In March, President Biden hosted the first-ever summit of the Quad leaders in the virtual format that vowed to strive for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, inclusive, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion, sending a subtle message to China.
The Biden-Harris administration has made elevating the Quad a priority, as seen through the first-ever Quad Leaders-level engagement in March, which was virtual, and now this Summit, which will be in-person, Psaki said.
“Hosting the leaders of the Quad demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s priority of engaging in the Indo-Pacific, including through new multilateral configurations to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” she said.
According to the White House, the Quad Leaders will be focused on deepening their ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas such as combatting COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.
In New Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs announced that Modi will participate in the summit of the four-nation grouping on September 24 in Washington and address the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York the next day.
In Washington, Modi is expected to hold separate bilateral talks with President Biden and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The Modi-Biden bilateral meeting is expected to take place at the White House on September 23. Both leaders have spoken virtually on multiple occasions after Biden became president in January.
The last time Modi visited the US was in September 2019 when he and then US president Donald Trump addressed the Howdy-Modi event in Houston.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be participating, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan and President Joseph R Biden of USA, in the Leaders' Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework in Washington DC, USA, on September 24," the MEA said in a statement.
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.
China Slams Upcoming Quad summit
Asked for his comment on the upcoming Quad summit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing in Beijing that cooperation between the countries should not target third parties.
"China believes that any regional cooperation framework should go with the trend of the times and be conducive to mutual trust and cooperation between the regional countries. It should not target any third party or harm their interests," he said.
"To form exclusive cliques targeting other countries does not conform with the country's aspirations, won’t be popular and has no future," he asserted.
"I want to stress that China is not only an engine for economic growth in Asia Pacific, it is also the main force safeguarding peace," he said, adding that China’s growth is an increase in "forces for peace" in the world and "good news" for the region.
"Relevant countries should abandon the obsolete Cold War mentality and narrow-minded geopolitical rivalry concept and view correctly and respect people’s aspiration in the region and do more things conducive to regional solidarity and cooperation," Zhao said.