(This was originally posted in Hindustan Times by Shishir Gupta)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to hold bilateral meetings with US President Joe Biden on September 24, followed by the meeting of Quad leaders at the White House with focus on Afghanistan, Indo-Pacific, coronavirus, and climate change. According to officials based in Washington and New Delhi, PM Modi will first have separate bilateral meetings with comprehensive strategic partners Japan and Australia on September 23. With Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, PM Modi will advance the shared objective of an open, free, prosperous, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region as India steps up its engagement through various initiative in the Indo-Pacific. India has a two plus two dialogues with all the three Quad partners, with the first Indo-Australian dialogue being held in New Delhi on September 11.
On September 24, PM Modi will hold first bilateral dialogue with US Vice President Kamala Harris followed by the first dialogue in physical capacity with President Joe Biden. This will be followed by the much-awaited Quad summit. All the engagements will be held at the White House.
Just as PM Modi will have bilateral meetings with all the three Quad partners, other leaders are also expected to hold bilateral meetings before converging for the Quad summit. While external affairs minister (EAM) S Jaishankar is leaving for US on the evening of September 20 to attend the UNGA and prepare groundwork for Quad summit, there is no meeting scheduled between Quad foreign ministers.
While PM Modi will deepen bilateral cooperation in political, economic, security and defense-related matters with all three leaders of the democratic world, the Quad summit will discuss situation in Taliban ruled Afghanistan. Despite commitments to the US of inclusive regime during Doha process, the Taliban government is full of UN-designated terrorists and is exclusive to only the loyal supporters of the Sunni Pashtun Islamist group with no space for either women or minorities. The Taliban government is also working contrary to the UNSC resolution 2593 passed on August 30, 2021.
The Quad is expected to come out with a statement on Indo-Pacific, where the rule of law and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea will be emphasised upon. The Quad’s vision of Indo-Pacific is anchored in the Asean architecture, freedom of navigation, and rejects the nine-dash line claims of China in South China Sea.
The Quad leaders will also deliberate on spread of coronavirus, which has origins in Wuhan, China, and review the production and availability of the vaccines for the world. Climate change will also be on the bilateral as well as Quad agenda with EAM Jaishankar hosting US climate change envoy John Kerry on September 13.