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Quad leaders agree to extend over $50 billion of infrastructure assistance in Indo-Pacific region

At the ongoing second meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue also known as QUAD summit, the four nations also agreed to bring decades of skills and experience together to catalyse infrastructure delivery to the region while deepening cooperation on infrastructure, which is critical to driving productivity and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

May 24, 2022 / 04:27 PM IST
PM Modi attends the Quad Leaders' Summit.

PM Modi attends the Quad Leaders' Summit.

A joint statement issued by Quad leaders Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, United States President Joe Biden, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on May 24 stated that the Quad will seek to extend more than $50 billion of infrastructure assistance and investment in the Indo-Pacific over the next five years.

The joint statement issued after the second in-person Quad summit attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that Quad partners bring decades of skills and experience together to catalyse infrastructure delivery to the region and all the leaders are “committed to working closely with partners and the region to drive public and private investment to bridge gaps”, and the $50 billion assistance would help achieve this goal.

At the ongoing second meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue also known as QUAD summit, the four nations also agreed to bring decades of skills and experience together to catalyse infrastructure delivery to the region while deepening cooperation on infrastructure, which is critical to driving productivity and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. They further committed to addressing debt issues, which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic in many countries.

“We will work to strengthen capacities of the countries in need to cope with debt issues under the G20 Common Framework and by promoting debt sustainability and transparency in close collaboration with finance authorities of relevant countries, including through the ‘Quad Debt Management Resource Portal’, which consists of multiple bilateral and multilateral capacity building assistance,” the statement added.

At the QUAD summit, the four leaders said they are working closely with experts, the region and each other to link their toolkits and expertise to better connect the Indo-Pacific.

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“We will further deepen collaboration and pursue complementary actions in identified areas, such as regional and digital connectivity, clean energy, and climate resilience including disaster resilience in energy related facilities that reflect the region's priorities including ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, to contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth in the region,” the leaders said in the joint statement.

The Quad leaders also recognised an urgent need to take a collective approach towards enhancing cybersecurity in an increasingly digital world with sophisticated cyber threats. The Quad partners will be coordinating on capacity building programmes in the Indo-Pacific region under the Quad Cybersecurity Partnership and will initiate the first-ever Quad Cybersecurity Day to help individual internet users across the four nations, the Indo-Pacific region, and beyond, to better protect themselves from cyber threats.

To deliver on the Quad’s vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, the leaders have committed to improving the defence of their nations' critical infrastructure by sharing threat information, identifying and evaluating potential risks in supply chains for digitally enabled products and services, and aligning baseline software security standards for government procurement, leveraging collective their purchasing power to improve the broader software development ecosystem so that all users can benefit.

As per the joint statement: “Each Quad partner will endeavour to improve public access to Earth observation satellite data and applications. The member nations agreed to work together to create an Earth observation-based monitoring and sustainable development framework. They agreed to endeavour to share space-based civil Earth observation data, along with providing a ‘Quad Satellite Data Portal’ that aggregates links to their respective national satellite data resources.”

“The Quad countries will work together to develop space applications, including in the area of Earth observations, and provide capacity building support to countries in the region, including with regards to partnering on using space capabilities to respond to extreme precipitation events. They will also consult on rules, norms, guidelines and principles for the sustainable use of space, and extend support to countries in the region through joint workshops including in relation to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) Guidelines for the Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities.”

Speaking about 5G technology and beyond 5G, the QUAD welcomed the Prague Proposals on Telecommunications Supplier Diversity and agreed to advance interoperability and security through the signature of a new Memorandum of Cooperation on 5G Supplier Diversification and Open RAN. They also agreed to deepen engagement with industry, including through Open RAN Track 1.5 events, and exploring ways to collaborate on the deployment of open and secure telecommunications technologies in the region.

Speaking about the global semiconductor shortage, the statement added: “The Quad nations have mapped the Quad's capacity and vulnerabilities in global semiconductor supply chains and have decided to better leverage their complementary strengths to realise a diverse and competitive market for semiconductors. The Common Statement of Principles on Critical Technology Supply Chains, launched on the occasion of the Quad Summit, advances cooperation on semiconductors and other critical technologies, providing a cooperative foundation for enhancing our resilience against various risks to the region.”

“This cooperation will help ensure technology development in the region is guided by our shared democratic values. We continue to strengthen our horizon scanning cooperation following our deepened discussions in biotechnology through our efforts on mapping and a corresponding Track 1.5 and a future focus on quantum technologies. We will convene a business and investment forum for networking with industry partners to expand capital for critical and emerging technologies,” the leaders said.

Notably, the Tokyo summit is the fourth interaction of Quad Leaders since their first virtual meeting in March 2021, in-person Summit in Washington DC in September 2021 and virtual meeting in March 2022. The first-ever in-person Quadrilateral Security Dialogue also known as QUAD summit in Washington DC had not-so-veiled references to China throughout. The QUAD nations had repeatedly called for a 'free open, rules-based order, rooted in international law and undaunted by coercion, to bolster security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific'.

During the two-day visit, PM Modi has also held bilateral meetings with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Australia's newly elected PM Anthony Albanese on the sidelines of the event.

Economic bloc announced

On Monday, India joined the three other QUAD nations - Australia, Japan, and the United States in launching an economic partnership with eight other economies in the Indo-Pacific region that aim to keep supply chains free of disruptions and frame trade rules, including for data localization, e-commerce, and labour standards.

The launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) added for the first time an economic angle to the dialogue, which has till now focussed on strategic cooperation.

A statement from the White House suggests the move is aimed at removing the Chinese stronghold on the regional economy through an alternative trade framework. However, the areas of ambition suggested by the US include trade standards and the digital economy, where India has clashed with developed economies on policy.

Apart from the four QUAD partners, the eight-other nations include Brunei, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Together, the 12-nations represent 40 percent of global GDP.

(With PTI inputs)
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