Fri, 23 Apr 2021

Washington [US], March 5 (ANI): President Joe Biden planned a virtual summit this month with the leaders of Quad members - Australia, Japan, India in order to counter China's growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region, citing people familiar with the matter, reported news website Axios.

By putting a Quad meeting on the president's schedule, the White House is signaling the importance of partnerships and alliances in the Indo-Pacific region.

Biden has spoken to each leader individually, but putting them together gives an early boost to the burgeoning group, which some have suggested could grow into an Asian version of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Axios reported.

Earlier in February, Biden had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in which the White House said the leaders would work toward "a stronger regional architecture through the Quad."Last month, Secretary of State Antony Blinken joined a virtual summit of Quad foreign ministers.

They offered a veiled criticism of China by pledging "to strongly oppose unilateral and forceful attempts to change the status quo in the context of the East and the South China Sea."Meanwhile, the White House declined to confirm the upcoming meeting.

The Quad, a security dialogue among four of the region's biggest democracies, was first established in 2007. It quickly lost its lustre, in part because Australia and India were reluctant to take any action that might antagonize China.

The Trump administration embraced the Quad concept, as the four countries grew more comfortable coordinating their security postures and more concerned about China's rise.

One month before the 2020 election, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to a summit in South Korea to rail against China's "exploitation, corruption and coercion," reported Axios.

Earlier, President Obama implemented the "Pivot to Asia," complementing the United States' traditional focus on European alliances with new ones in the Pacific region.

President Trump abandoned his predecessor's Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal but embraced the Quad. (ANI)

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