Biden calls India's Modi, seeks to strengthen regional security through "Quad" grouping

International

India, United States, Japan and Australia are members of the Quad, an informal group that Washington has been promoting to work as a potential bulwark against China’s increasing political, commercial and military activity in the Indo-Pacific, diplomats say.

“The leaders agreed to continuing close cooperation to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, including support for freedom of navigation, territorial integrity, and a stronger regional architecture through the Quad,” the White House said in a statement.

Last year, the four countries held joint naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal after New Delhi dropped its hesitation for fear of antagonising Beijing.

India is locked in a military standoff with China over their disputed mountainous border since April and public opinion has hardened against Beijing after soldiers were killed in a clash there.

Biden and Modi also agreed to work closely to fight COVID-19, renew their partnership on climate change and defend democratic institution and norms around the world, including in Myanmar, where the military seized power last week.

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