NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi said March 12 that the quadrilateral grouping of the U.S., India, Japan and Australia has "come of age" as he attended the first Quad leaders' summit virtually.
The grouping is being seen as a united front to counter China's imperialistic aggression and expansion through trade and military occupation.
Modi participated in the virtual summit headed by U.S. President Joe Biden along with Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga.
Modi started his speech by declaring, "It is good to be among friends." The four countries, he said, "are united by our democratic values and our commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific."
The agenda of the summit -- covering areas like vaccines, climate change and emerging technologies -- makes the Quad a force for global good, he said.
Describing Quad as a positive vision, the prime minister said that it is an extension of India's ancient philosophy of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,'which regards the world as one family. "We will work together closer than ever before for advancing our shared values and promoting a secure, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific," Modi said.
Quad, he added, "is an important pillar of stability in the region."
Modi's statement was welcomed by a lot of India watchers in the U.S.
Former U.S. diplomat and Harvard academic Nicholas Burns praised the move, tweeting, "Today's first-ever Quad leaders meeting - of the US, India, Japan and Australia - is a big deal. Led by the President of the United States Joe Biden, these four can lead on vaccine distribution, strengthen democracies in the region and limit China's assertiveness."
There are reports that India will produce Johnson & Johnson's single-dose Covid vaccine shot as part of the first Quad initiative. The project will be financed by Japan and the U.S., while Australia will use its logistics capability to ship the vaccines to Southeast Asia and Pacific countries.