Quad Summit 2021: Basics Explained

The USA hosted the first in-person summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue—or Quad—with the leaders of Australia, India, and Japan. The leaders touched onvarious topics including vaccines, climate, cooperation on technology and space.

The leaders reiterated their stand for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity of states. The Quad leaders also voiced support for small island states, especially those in the Pacific, in order to enhance their economic and environmental resilience.

The leaders took steps to expand vaccines worldwide, welcoming India’s plan to resume exports in October. The countries agreed to cooperate on vaccines, clean energy, and space, and to hold a summit meeting every year. The Quad announced several new pacts, including one to bolster supply chain security for semiconductors and to combat illegal fishing, and boost maritime domain awareness. It also rolled out a 5G partnership and plans to track climate change.

The momentum of the Quad has escalated rapidly from a joint naval exercise last year, the first in a decade, to a foreign ministers meeting, to a virtual meeting of the respective heads of government, to an ambassadorial meet, to a first in-person meeting of the four leaders.

From maritime cooperation that began between the Quad members shortly after the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, to upholding the sacrosanctity of the UN Conventions on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), all four countries espouse a free and open Indo-Pacific.


The quadrilateral security dialogue includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.

All four nations find a common ground, share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific, of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.

Free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large; Tackle common challenges of terrorism and proliferation; Upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and respect for international law, freedom of navigation and overflight.


India’s approach to the Quadrilateral consultative forum, which comprises Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, reflects New Delhi’s plural foreign policy arch in an evolving Indo-Pacific construct.

Balancing China’s growing outreach with the Indo-Pacific region while concurrently affirming bilateralism with Beijing explains India’s strategic autonomy and pluralism in its foreign policy

To protect its own maritime interests which are being threatened by the rising Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). 

  It will serve two geostrategic goals of India viz. countering China’s aggressive on border with India’s assertive in the maritime domain and emerge as a net security provider in the region.

The maritime sphere is wide open to India to undertake coalition building, rule setting, and other forms of strategic exploration as right now Quad is more about cooperation in maritime security and climate change and not so much into territorial talks.

It gives New Delhi a powerful platform to advance its interests in East Asia, coordinate strategies with powerful friends, and add more strength to its Act East initiative.

The geostrategic term “Indo-Pacific” as opposed to “Asia-Pacific” has been gaining currency. Such an alliance would be a useful counter to China’s string of pearls and its all-weather friendship with Pakistan.


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