Indo-Pacific allies praise democracy
WASHINGTON – Bringing together the leaders of India, Australia and Japan, President Joe Biden said on Friday that the United States and other members of the Indo-Pacific alliance known as the “Quad “, showed that they” knew how to get things done “in an increasingly complicated corner of the globe.
Biden and his fellow leaders – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga – all grapple with a rising China that Biden has accused of coercive economic practices and troubling military maneuvers.
They made no direct mention of China, but Pacific power was undoubtedly a major focus as they headed for private talks.
On broader issues, Biden has repeatedly argued that the United States and its like-minded allies must deliver on the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and other core issues in what he considers like a race between democracies and autocracies.
Morrison and the others seemed to get that message when they opened Friday’s summit.
“We are liberal democracies, believe in a world order that promotes freedom,” Morrison said. “We believe in a free and open Indo-Pacific because we know that is what makes for a strong, stable and prosperous region.
Ahead of Friday afternoon’s rally, Biden sat down with Modi in the Oval Office.
The president has made it clear that he sees closer relations with India – the world’s largest democracy neighboring Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and China – as vital for both sides.
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“I have long believed that the US-India relationship can help us solve a lot of global challenges,” Biden said.
Modi, who met with Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. business leaders on Thursday, stressed the importance of the Indian diaspora to the U.S. economy and said he wanted to find ways for both countries to work. together to strengthen their respective economies.
He was to bring up Afghanistan when he met Biden and raise objections to the Taliban’s efforts to gain recognition at the United Nations. The Indian government is also concerned about the influence it believes Pakistani intelligence services have had on the way Taliban factions have divided government offices in Kabul.
Biden was also due to have a one-on-one with Suga, who is expected to leave his post soon. Suga was due to discuss China, North Korea, Afghanistan, the response to Covid-19 and climate change.
At the afternoon summit, Quad executives were expected to announce a coronavirus vaccine initiative and plans to strengthen semiconductor supply chains. Biden announced that the allies have created a program to bring science and technology graduate students to U.S. universities.
The Quad is an informal alliance formed in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed some 230,000 people. Biden sought to re-energize the alliance, highlighting a primary foreign policy goal: greater focus on the Pacific and a rising China.
The governments of Japan and India have welcomed the recent announcement that the United States, as part of a new alliance with Britain and Australia, will equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.
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This will allow Australia to carry out longer patrols and give it an advantage over the Chinese Navy. But the announcement infuriated France, which accused the Biden administration of stabbing him in the back by canceling its own $ 66 billion deal to supply diesel-powered submarines.
Tensions between Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron eased after the two leaders met on Wednesday and agreed to take steps to coordinate more closely in the Indo-Pacific.
The White House meeting concludes a busy week of broader diplomacy for Biden, who addressed the United Nations General Assembly and hosted a virtual world summit on the pandemic.
Biden and the leaders of other rich countries are criticized for the slow pace of global vaccinations and the unequal access to vaccines between the richest and the poorest countries. The pushback is occurring despite Biden announcing plans for the United States to purchase 1 billion doses of Pfizer vaccine to deliver to the world.
Information for the article was provided by Yuri Kageyama of The Associated Press.