Biden calls India’s Modi, seeks to strengthen regional security through Quad grouping
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed in a telephone call to strengthen Indo-Pacific security through the Quad grouping of countries that is seen as a way to push back against the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) growing assertiveness in the region.
Australia, India, Japan and the United States are members of the Quad, an informal group that Washington has been promoting as a bulwark against the PRC’s increasing political, commercial and military activity in the Indo-Pacific, diplomats say.
Biden spoke to Modi on February 8, 2021, and noted that India-U.S. ties were held together by a shared commitment to democratic values.
“The leaders agreed to continuing close cooperation to promote a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, including support for freedom of navigation, territorial integrity and a stronger regional architecture through the Quad,” the White House said in a statement.
In 2020, the four countries held joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean, pictured, after New Delhi dropped its hesitation over potentially antagonizing Beijing. The PRC has denounced the Quad as an attempt to contain its development.
Modi told Biden he would work to elevate the strategic partnership between the two countries, the Indian Foreign Ministry said in its readout of the call.
India has been locked in a military standoff with the PRC over their disputed mountainous border since April 2020, and public opinion has hardened against Beijing after Indian Soldiers were killed in a clash there.
Japan’s Sankei Shimbun newspaper reported in early February 2021 that the leaders of the Quad nations plan to hold a summit, in a further tightening of ties between the four powerful democracies.
Biden and Modi also agreed to work closely to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, renew their partnership on climate change and defend democratic institutions and norms around the world, including in Burma, where the military seized power February 1.
IMAGE CREDIT: PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS JOSE MADRIGAL/U.S. NAVY