The plan for vaccine manufacture will see the four countries working to produce up to one billion vaccine doses by 2022
The summit also saw the setting up of three working groups – on vaccines, new and emerging technologies and climate change
The US, India, Australia and Japan on Friday announced an ambitious partnership to boost production of covid vaccines in the first-ever meeting of leaders of the Quad group of nations.
US President Joe Biden, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga shared a virtual stage to herald the start of their reinforced partnership seen as mounting a challenge to China.
The summit comes against the backdrop of multiple challenges posed by a rising China, which has trade disputes with the US and Australia and territorial disputes with India and Japan.
Briefing reporters after the summit, India’s foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla described the upgradation of the Quad conversation to the level of the leaders as “the most significant outcome". “It highlights the importance of international cooperation to address global challenges," he said.
Shringla said “certain issues" came up for discussion during the meeting, hinting that China’s belligerent attitude towards some Quad members, including India, were discussed. The virtual Quad summit will be followed by an in-person meeting of the four leaders later this year, Shringla added.
On Beijing’s contention that the Quad is an “Asian NATO" aimed at circumscribing China’s growth and influence, Shringla said the grouping has a constructive agenda and stands for ideas pursued commonly by the four nations, including democracy and the rule of law and not against any nation.
The plan for vaccine manufacturing will see the four countries working to produce up to one billion vaccine doses by 2022. It envisages India ramping up its vaccine manufacturing capacity with financing from the US and Japan to make the single-dose vaccine from US-based Johnson and Johnson, with Australia taking charge of shipments and logistical issues, Shringla said.
“We believe this will speed up the process of post-pandemic recovery and enable families and businesses to put the covid crisis behind them," he said.
That India was tasked with manufacturing the vaccines was a “validation of our reputation" as the pharmacy of the world, Shringla said, adding the idea was also to cater to possible pandemics in the future.
The summit also saw the setting up of three working groups – on vaccines, new and emerging technologies and climate change.
For the first time, the Quad came up with a joint statement, underlining a unity of vision and purpose. Speaking first, Biden, who has promised to reinvigorate alliances in the face of challenges from China, hailed the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, as one that is “going to be a vital arena for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific". He vowed to work with partners India, Australia and Japan to “achieve stability." He described the Quad as “dedicated to the practical solutions and concrete results,"—a possible harking back to the time when the four first joined hands to provide relief to countries devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
“We are launching an ambitious new joint partnership that is going to boost vaccine manufacturing and strengthen vaccinations to benefit the entire Indo-Pacific," Biden said, referring to the US providing vaccines for India to manufacture and ramp up production capacities to supply to countries in the region.
Subscribe to Mint Newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.
Never miss a story! Stay connected and informed with Mint.
our App Now!!