1) First ever Quad summit takes on China over vaccine push
– Leaders of the four Quad countries – India, US, Japan and Australia met for the first time at the summit level and described it as
– This summit meeting was hosted by the US and came after over thirteen years the idea of the Quad first came about in 2007.
– The big deliverable of the summit was a vaccine initiative where US developed vaccines will be manufactured in India, financed by
US and Japan and the last mile coverage in terms of distribution, storage will be done by Australia.
– The Quad aims at producing 1 billion doses by end of 2022 to be distributed in the Indo Pacific region.
– US development finance corporation has announced financing for US one-shot vaccine J&J among others to be manufactured by
Hyderabad-based Biological E.
– The first ever joint statement of the Quad also spoke about the traditional issues to counter China’s aggression in the region
– Free, open, inclusive Indo-Pacific, international law in the maritime domain, including in maritime security, to meet challenges to
rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas.
– Listen to our podcast with Director, Society for Policy Studies Commodore Uday Bhaskar for more on what next for the Quad.
2) India China diplomatic talks to resolve the LAC friction
– India and China held the seventh round of diplomatic level WMCC (Working Group on Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on
Border Affairs) since the start of the friction in Eastern Ladakh on the LAC in Arpil/May, 2020.
– The two sides reviewed the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Western Sector and had in-depth discussions on
the remaining issues along the LAC in the Western Sector.
– They agreed that the completion of the disengagement in North and South Bank of the Pangong Lake provided a good basis for the two
sides to work towards early resolution of these remaining issues, said the press release issued by India.
– The two sides agreed to maintain close communication and dialogue through both diplomatic and military channels.
– They agreed to convene the 11th round of the Senior Commanders meeting at an early date
3) US export embargo on vaccine raw material
– India has taken up with the US a temporary ban on the export of raw materials for vaccine manufacturing
– Foreign Secretary Harshvardhan Shringla said the matter was taken up in New Delhi and by the Indian ambassador in US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu
– Though interestingly when this question was put to the US NSA in a briefing last week, Jake Sullivan said – “I do not believe there is an export ban.”
– Serum Institute of India CEO, Adar Poonawala had said in a discussion last week that it could hit the production of the COVID 19 vaccine, Covishield.
4) Astra Zeneca COVID 19 shots put on hold in Europe
– At least 10 countries mostly from Europe have put the Astra Zeneca COVID 19 vaccine administration on hold.
– This includes countries like Germany, France and Italy.
– German health minister said – “the decision today is purely a precautionary measure. It is a purely scientific and not a political decision. And that’s why I’m following the recommendation of the Paul Ehrlich Institute. ”
– They have said reports of blood clotting or excessive bleeding or even death has been reported in some cases though there is no
concrete evidence yet to link the vaccine with these grave even fatal consequences. This has been reported in a very small number.
– The WHO has said there is no reason to not allow for the use of the vaccine.
5) Visit of US Defence Secretary
– The US defence secretary Llyod Austin will be visiting India on 19-20th March. He will meet Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
– He is visiting Japan and South Korea and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii during the same tour.
– Pentagon said, “Secretary Austin will meet his counterparts and other senior officials to discuss the importance of international defence relationships, and reinforce the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region — founded on respect for international rules, laws, and norms.”