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NEW DELHI: US President Joe Biden will host the first-ever in person Quad Leaders Summit at the White House on 24 September, the White House announced Tuesday.

A statement by White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that “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."

In New Delhi, the Indian foreign ministry early Tuesday confirmed that Modi would travel to the US for the Quad summit and to participate in the UN General Assembly session on 25 September.

Bilateral meetings with Biden and other leaders are also expected and the announcements could be made soon, two people familiar with the matter said separately.

Modi’s visit to the US is his first visit abroad in six months—the prime minister had visited Bangladesh in March for the 50th anniversary celebrations of Bangladesh’s emergence as a separate country. Modi was supposed to visit Europe in May but the trip was called off after India was hit by a particularly brutal second wave of covid-19 infections.

The US statement said that 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. 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."

The first in person meeting of Quad Leaders “will be focused on deepening our ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas such as combating covid-19, addressing the climate crisis, partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace, and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific," it said.

The Indian statement on its part said that the Quad leaders would “review progress made since their first virtual summit on 12 March 2021 and discuss regional issues of shared interest."

“As part of their ongoing efforts to contain the covid-19 pandemic, they will review the Quad Vaccine initiative which was announced in March this year. 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 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," the Indian statement said.

Apart from this, Modi was scheduled to address the General Debate of the High-Level Segment of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 25 September in New York, the statement said.

“The theme for this year’s General Debate is ‘Building Resilience through hope to recover from covid-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations,’" the statement added.

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