India says Quad meeting set for Thursday

US President Joe Biden (left) meeting with (on screen, from left) then Japan PM Yoshihide Suga, Indian PM Narendra Modi and Australian PM Scott Morrison, on March 12, 2021. PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - Quad leaders United States President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will hold a virtual meeting on Thursday (March 3), New Delhi said.

India’s foreign ministry said in a statement the meeting follows their September summit in Washington and that they would “exchange views and assessments about important developments in the Indo-Pacific”.

It was not clear if the Ukraine crisis would be discussed too.

Among the partners, only India has not condemned the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the major arms supplier for the Indian military.

It was not immediately clear on whose request the surprise meeting was called. None of the Quad countries had flagged it earlier.

Mr Biden was originally scheduled to attend a summit of the grouping in May.

Quad foreign ministers met in Australia early last month and pledged to deepen cooperation to ensure the Indo-Pacific region was free from “coercion”, a swipe at China’s economic and military activities.

China has denounced the Quad as a Cold War construct and a clique “targeting other countries”.

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