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Chips'n'China on the agenda as the Quad – Japan, India, Oz, US – prepares to meet

Not that the Middle Kingdom is singled out directly

A private meeting will be held between President Joe Biden and India’s Prime Minister during the first in-person summit of The Quad in Washington DC this Friday, during which semiconductors and a united front against China are likely to be discussed.

"The President will participate in a bilateral meeting with His Excellency Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India," said the White House confirmed on Monday regarding the first meeting between the two leaders. Biden is also planning to privately meet Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Speculation is that the bilateral meetings will cover the US, UK, and Australia's new trilateral security pact, the AUKUS alliance. The trio want to build a Chinese-countering Western presence in the Indo-Pacific by assisting Oz in deploying nuclear-powered submarines and other tech.

Discussions on America's withdrawal from Afghanistan are also expected to pop up in the talks between Biden and Modi as India’s proximity to the country make the fallout more relevant. COVID-19 and climate change are to be discussed as well.

The first virtual summit of the leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or The Quad, took place in March 2021. Although the four nations in the group – the United States, India, Japan, and Australia – tackle a range of problems shared between them, the participating countries have taken a noticeable stance on China and its influence in the Indo-Pacific.

As for this week’s upcoming meeting, a draft of a joint statement obtained and reported by Nikkei Asia details a heavy focus on creating a "resilient, diverse and secure technology supply chains for hardware, software, and services" in the midst of a global semiconductor supply drought.

The document also states that the creation and use of technology should be steered by “shared democratic values and a respect for universal human rights,” essentially pointing a finger at China without calling the Middle Kingdom out by name, in line with India’s policy to not right now ratchet up tensions between the two countries.

The leaked draft also addresses illicit technology transfer and theft as an issue in need of addressing – cough, cough, China – and says the Quad is launching a joint initiative to source, protect, and bolster semiconductor-related supply chains.

While chip fabrication delays have reached all corners of the planet, it comes amid a face-off between Washington and Beijing. The US brought in sanctions to prevent technology exports to China. China in response sought to home-grow its supply, with limited, and even sometimes negative, success.

Last month US Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Indo-Pacific region. At a press conference in Singapore she said she was “working together with partners like Singapore on strengthening supply chains.”

Speaking of a meeting with Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Harris said:

I reaffirmed in our meeting the United States’ commitment to working with our allies and partners around the Indo-Pacific to uphold the rules-based international order and freedom of navigation, including in the South China Sea.

She later reiterated the point when asked about an attempt by China to use the United States' failures in Afghanistan to drive a wedge between the US and its allies. ®

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