The stage has been set for the Quad Leaders Summit in Tokyo next week, where Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with US President Joe Biden. The focus of the QUAD meeting and bilateral discussions with other leaders will be on China’s growing presence in the Indo-Pacific region, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, the COVD-19 vaccine initiative and other issues of mutual interest, including clean energy.
“New Delhi does not view the ongoing war in Ukraine as linked to Indo-Pacific problems. It is hoped that Washington will treat the two regions differently. But since the upcoming Quad meeting is taking place against the backdrop of a live conflict in Ukraine, it would be unrealistic to assume that its shadow would not fall on the QUAD meeting. QUAD members should not judge others from their ideological high ground, but work on the real issues arising in the Indo-Pacific, “said Professor Rajan Kumar, School of International Studies, JNU.
The QUAD meeting in Tokyo coincided with the US President’s visit to that country. And, it comes just days after the Australian general election (the election in Australia will be held on May 21, 2022). This means that only three quad members will probably meet and this will be the first private meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the US President since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the 24th.M February, 2022.
The U.S. president arrived in Tokyo at the end of a visit to South Korea, which has expressed interest in joining QUAD. And the White House has already announced that, according to media reports, the US president will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and South Korean President Eun Suu Kyi during his visit.
The two leaders, PM Modi and US President Biden, held a private meeting in September last year and in March this year the two leaders met in practice to discuss the situation in Ukraine.
From day one, India’s position has been on the need for diplomacy and dialogue between the leaders of both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
India’s position on the Russia-Ukraine war
According to Professor Rajan Kumar, “India’s position has raised some concerns about its relationship with QUAD. Washington was confident that New Delhi would behave like Tokyo or Canberra in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Instead, it took some bitter words to convince Washington that New Delhi was not on the same page as other Western nations. “
QUAD’s expected agenda
In addition to keeping the Indo-Pacific open, safe and secure, PM Modi highlighted a number of areas for practical cooperation for QUAD, including connectivity, clean energy, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, debt stability and supply chain.
Countries including India, Japan, Australia and the United States together formed the QUAD which was an initiative of former US President Donald Trump and was taken to the leadership level by the Biden administration.
There are several reasons why India has not come under Western pressure:
“First, New Delhi does not view the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine as a conflict between democracy and authoritarianism; Second, Russia’s emergence of a geopolitical balance would occur not only because of the defense trade, but also because of the shift of the East in the region; Third, the economic cost of complying with Western sanctions is much higher; And finally, New Delhi is confident that Washington will never abandon India in its plan to contain China, ”said Professor Rajan.
Also, according to him, “the US balance of power in Ukraine is not going to strengthen it. Washington may in the short term succeed in giving NATO the mask of unity, but its global ambitions will now face multifaceted resistance. China and Russia are likely to work together in the coming years. The United States has shrunk in many parts of the world. Its dominant role in several conflicts will still face resistance from the Moscow-Beijing axis. “
Will India’s position in the Russia-Ukraine war affect QUAD?
“From a New Delhi perspective, QUAD is an important organization committed to Indo-Pacific issues. India wants to work closely with the QUAD countries in the region India has not changed its attitude towards China. New Delhi sees Beijing as an expansionist force in the Indo-Pacific region and a real threat to liberal democracy. It is disappointing that the United States is engaged in a conflict with a country that has become secondary to its global economic and military influence, “he added.