Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a two-day visit to Japan on Sunday evening to attend a summit of the Quad leaders at the invitation of his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida. The Quad summit is aimed at enhancing cooperation among the member nations of the influential grouping and discussing notable developments in the Indo-Pacific region.
The prime minister said, in a statement, that the summit will provide an opportunity for the leaders of the four-member countries to review the progress of the Quad initiatives. The Quad consists of four nations – India, Japan, US and Australia.
The summit in Tokyo will take place on May 24 and will also be graced by US President Joe Biden, Japanese PM Kishida and Australian Prime Minister-elect Anthony Albanese.
“In Japan, I will also participate in the second in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit, which will provide an opportunity for the leaders of the four Quad countries to review the progress of Quad initiatives,” Modi said in his statement.
“We will also exchange views about developments in the Indo-Pacific region and global issues of mutual interest,” he added.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted, “A visit to further the ‘force for global good’.
PM @narendramodi emplanes for Tokyo. Quad Leaders’ Summit with PM @AlboMP of Australia, PM @kishida230 of Japan, and @POTUS @JoeBiden awaits.”
A visit to further the ‘force for global good’.
— Arindam Bagchi (@MEAIndia) May 22, 2022
Besides attending the summit, Modi will also hold separate bilateral meetings with Biden, Kishida and Albanese on the sidelines.
Modi to attend IPEF rollout event
PM Modi will on Monday also attend an event in Tokyo where Biden will launch the ambitious Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).
The IPEF is an initiative that is aimed at establishing deeper cooperation among like-minded countries on a range of issues such as clean energy, supply-chain resilience and digital trade.
The IPEF is likely to send across a message that the US is aimed at pushing forward a robust economic policy for the Indo-Pacific to counter China’s aggressive strategy on trade in the region.
MEA spokesperson Bagchi said India has received the details of the IPEF. “We have received details of this. And we are examining it. At this point, that’s all I have to say. I would not be in a position to prejudge what might happen in Tokyo or in future, but as I said, we are looking into the initiative,” he said at a press meet. A number of other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and the Philippines, are likely to join the IPEF.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Sunday said the IPEF is designed to create “high-standard approaches” to the digital economy, to the clean energy transition, to diverse and resilient supply chains and to open and transparent economic governance. Talking to the media, he also clarified that the IPEF is not a security arrangement.
“No, it’s not it’s not a security arrangement. It is an economic arrangement focused around the further integration of Indo-Pacific economies, setting of standards and rules, particularly in new areas like the digital economy, and also trying to ensure that there are secure and resilient supply chains,” Sullivan said.
Bilateral talks, Meetings with business leaders on the agenda
Modi will also have 23 engagements, including meetings with the three world leaders, in around 40 hours of stay in Japan. During his visit, the prime minister will have business, diplomatic and community interactions.
Modi will interact with at least 36 Japanese CEOs and also with hundreds of Indian diaspora members. The prime minister is scheduled to hold separate meetings with a number of leading corporate honchos, including NEC Corporation chairman Nobuhiro Endo, Uniqlo president Tadashi Yanai, Suzuki Motor Corporation adviser Osamu Suzuki and Softbank Group Corporation board director Masayoshi Son.
The prime minister will spend one night in Tokyo and two nights on the plane travelling.
Modi’s visit to Japan on May 23 and 24 to attend the summit is taking place under the shadow of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
At a media briefing on Saturday, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra had said the Quad leaders are expected to deliberate on the challenges and opportunities in the Indo-Pacific besides focusing on post-Covid recovery, health security, and sustainable infrastructure and resilient supply chains at their summit talks.
He had said the Quad leaders are expected to deliberate on the vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and that they would take stock of the progress made so far under the framework of the coalition and give guidance for the future.
(With PTI inputs)