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News: Recently, the first in-person meeting of Quad leaders was hosted by the US. Issues like climate change, Covid-19 pandemic and challenges in the Indo Pacific, amidst China's growing military presence in the strategic region, were discussed in the meeting.
• In November 2017, India, Japan, the US and Australia gave shape to the long-pending proposal of setting up the Quad to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence.
• China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it.
• The South China Sea is an arm of the Western Pacific Ocean.In 2020, the trilateral India-US-Japan Malabar naval exercises expanded to include Australia, marking the first official grouping of the Quad since its resurgence in 2017.Further, it is the first joint military exercises among the four countries in over a decade.
• In March 2021, the Quad leaders met virtually and later released a joint statement titled ‘The Spirit of the Quad,’ which outlined the group’s approach and objectives.Further, just before this meeting, the US has announced a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific, between Australia, the UK and the US (AUKUS).
• Discussed Afghanistan and agreed to deepen their cooperation in South Asia.
• Under this, the Quad countries have pledged to donate more than 1.2 billion Coid-19 vaccine doses globally, in addition to the doses financed through Covax.
• Supported the call for a 'global pandemic radar” to improve viral genomic surveillance and expand the WHO Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS).
• The G7 grouping has recently announced the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative.Based on similar lines, the Quad will establish high-quality infrastructure and will share expertise, capacity, and influence in the region and identify new opportunities to meet the needs there.
• Quad countries has envisaged to establish:
• Green-Shipping Network for deployment of green-port infrastructure.
• Clean-Hydrogen Partnership to strengthen and reduce costs across all elements of the cleanhydrogen technology, leveraging existing bilateral and multilateral hydrogen initiatives in other fora.
• Climate Adaptation, Resilience, and Preparedness for increasing the Indo-Pacific region’s resilience to climate change by improving critical climate information-sharing and disaster-resilient infrastructure.
• Apart from this, Quad countries intend to update or communicate ambitious NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) by COP26.
• Quad Fellowship will sponsor 100 students per year - 25 from each Quad country - to pursue masters and doctoral degrees at leading STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programmes) graduate universities in the United States.
• Semiconductor Supply Chain Initiative to map capacity, identify vulnerabilities, and bolster supply-chain security for semiconductors and their vital components.This initiative will help ensure Quad partners support a diverse and competitive market that produces the secure critical technologies essential for digital economies globally.
• The announcement of launch of a 5G deployment and calls for monitoring trends in advanced biotechnologies, including synthetic biology, genome sequencing, and biomanufacturing.
• Quad Senior Cyber Groupwill make shared cyber standards; development of secure software; building workforce and talent; and promoting the scalability and cybersecurity of secure and trustworthy digital infrastructure.
• The Quad will begin space cooperation for the first time with a new working group.In pursuance of this, Quad countries will start discussions to exchange Earth observation satellite data and analysis on climatechange risks and the sustainable use of oceans and marine resources.