PM Modi meets Albanese in Tokyo at Quad Meet

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) along with US President Joseph Biden, Japan PM Fumio Kishida and Australian PM Anthony Albanese in Tokyo.

The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) has been formed to counter China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) strategy of building infrastructure for developing countries to bring them under its influence.

A day ahead of the second in-person Quad summit, its four leaders – Modi, Biden, Japan PM Fumio Kishida and Australian PM Anthony Albanese — attended the launch in the virtual presence of leaders from nine other partner countries — Brunei, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The 13 countries account for 40 per cent of the global GDP.

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‘Quad has made an important place for itself before the world in such a short span of time. Today, Quad’s scope has become extensive, its form effective,’ PM Modi said at Quad Leaders’ Summit.

A joint statement issued by the 13 potential partners said the IPEF sought to strengthen economic partnership to enhance resilience, economic growth and fairness in the Indo-Pacific region.

The participation of nine other countries was a guarded secret till Biden made the announcement. The headline speculation thus far was about a white shipping agreement among Quad countries to keep an eye on illegal Chinese fishing.

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PM Modi described the launch as a declaration of collective desire to make the Indo-Pacific region an engine of global economic growth. India has historically been at the centre of trade flows in the Indo-Pacific region, having the world’s oldest commercial port in Lothal, Gujarat.

Partner countries will now begin discussions on strengthening economic cooperation and achieving shared goals. 11 of the 13 countries are part of the RCEP of which China is a member and India is not. Among the 10 ASEAN members, many of which bear the brunt of China’s aggression, only Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar stayed out.