Modi to attend first in-person Quad Summit in US next week
Published : Tuesday, 14 September, 2021 at 11:08 AM Count : 1120
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the first in-person Quad Summit to be hosted by President Joe Biden in the US on September 24 amid the growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan after the return of the Taliban.
The Quad, acronym for the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is an informal strategic group of four nations -- the US, Australia, Japan and India. The Quad was formed in 2007 as a counterbalance to China in Asia.
In a statement, the Indian External Affairs Ministry Tuesday said that the Quad leaders will review the progress made since their first virtual Summit held on March 12 and "discuss regional issues of shared interest".
"They will also exchange views on contemporary global issues such as critical and emerging technologies, connectivity and infrastructure, cyber security, maritime security, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, climate change and education."
The leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the United States will also review the Quad Vaccine initiative which was announced in March this year, the Ministry said.
"The Summit would provide a valuable opportunity for dialogue and interactions among the Leaders, anchored in their shared vision of ensuring a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region," it added.
The Indian Prime Minister is also scheduled to address the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 25 in New York, according to the Foreign Ministry.
The Indian Foreign Ministry's statement comes after White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed the date of the Quad Leaders Summit late on Monday night.
"US President Joseph R Biden, Jr will host the first-ever Quad Leaders Summit at the White House on September 24. President Biden is looking forward to welcoming to the White House Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan," 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."
India was among several countries that evacuated their diplomatic staff from Kabul when the Taliban took over the Afghan capital on August 15.
However, two weeks later, India began direct communication with the Taliban, with the country's envoy in Qatar Deepak Mittal holding talks with Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of the Taliban's Political Office in the Gulf state.
At the meeting, Ambassador Mittal had raised India's concern that Afghanistan's soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism in any manner, to which Stanekzai assured him that these issues would be positively addressed, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.
"Discussions focused on safety, security and early return of Indian nationals stranded in Afghanistan. The travel of Afghan nationals, especially minorities, who wish to visit India also came up."
The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan on August 15, with the US troops ending their 20-year military presence in the South Asian country.
India is particularly worried about the implications of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, given it has already infused over three billion USD worth development aid into that country and the horrific memories of the Taliban's role in the hijacking of an Indian airliner in 1999.