Biden to miss Quad meet: A look at the group and its significance

Quad, formally known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is a group of four like-minded, democratic countries which include the United States of America, India, Australia, and Japan

BS Web Team New Delhi
Quad summit 2021

Quad Leaders' Summit expected to begin soon at the East Room of the White House | Photo: ANI

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Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced on Wednesday that the Quad summit scheduled for May 24 stands cancelled as US President Joe Biden will be absent. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will still visit Sydney as planned previously. His visit will include a rally at an indoor stadium, Reuters reported.
Subsequently, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also cancelled his trip to Australia, Albanese said.

Why did Biden cancel his visit?
Biden had planned his visit for the Quad summit to Sydney as part of his Asia tour which was set to start from Hiroshima, Japan for a Group of Seven (G7) leader summit. 

While Biden will still travel to Japan, he has cancelled other parts of his trip which included a visit to Papua New Guinea to meet leaders from Pacific island countries and the Quad summit in Sydney.
Biden cut short his trip to participate in the ongoing negotiations to raise the debt ceiling of the government. Notably, in the US system, Congress controls the spending limits and can take decisions to raise the debt limit.

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The debt ceiling refers to the amount of money the US government can spend. Currently, it is set at $31.4 trillion. Raising the debt limit used to be a routine process in the past. However, the process has become increasingly controversial over the years.
What is the Quad?

Quad, formally known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is a group of four like-minded, democratic countries which includes the United States of America, India, Australia, and Japan. 
Significance of the group

The four countries have come together to establish security paraphernalia in the form of an informal strategic forum. One of the primary objectives of this forum is to ensure a free, open, prosperous, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
However, the Quad is also seen as a group to counter China's rise in the region and contain its hegemonic designs. Beijing sees quad as an American attempt to dilute its influence.

Why was Biden's visit significant?
Strategic experts saw Biden's visit as an opportunity to further strengthen US partnerships in the Indo-Pacific. The visit was vital given the assertive stand China has taken in the South China Sea.

Given its formidable naval presence in the region, the US plays a crucial role in the security arrangement in the region and experts saw the visit of the US President as a chance to reinforce US security commitments.
Derek Grossman, a senior defence analyst at RAND Corporation was cited in a CNN report as saying that the impact of the cancellation of the Quad meeting in Sydney should be "negligible" since the grouping had "good momentum" from its earlier meetings.

First Published: May 17 2023 | 5:15 PM IST

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