President Joe Biden concludes his visit to Asia on Tuesday by meeting with a quartet of Indo-Pacific leaders, including Australia’s new prime minister and India’s Narendra Modi, with whom differences persist over how to respond to the invasion. Russian from Ukraine.
Going into the Quad meeting, White House officials said the situation in Ukraine would be on the agenda. Biden spoke on Monday about Japan’s efforts to impose sanctions on Russia and send humanitarian aid to Kyiv. But the White House was disappointed with India’s response to the invasion.
Biden has asked Modi not to speed up the purchase of Russian oil as the United States and other allies seek to cut Moscow’s energy revenue. India’s prime minister has made no public pledge to cut itself off from Russian oil, and Biden has publicly called India “somewhat fragile” in its response to the invasion.
Unlike other Quad countries and almost all other US allies, India has not imposed sanctions or even condemned Russia, its biggest supplier of military equipment. Faced with Western pressure, India has condemned the civilian deaths in Ukraine and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. Yet he has also deepened the fallout from a war that has caused global food shortages by banning wheat exports at a time when famine is a growing risk in some parts of the world.
Biden and Modi spoke about the invasion of Russia during a virtual meeting of Quad leaders in March, and last month they had a short video chat when Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of State Defense Lloyd Austin met their Indian counterparts in Washington.
So this won’t be a new conversation, said White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan. “It will be a continuation of the conversation they already had about how we view the situation in Ukraine and the impacts of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine on a broader set of concerns around the world. “
While Biden and Modi may avoid a public confrontation over how to respond to Russia’s aggression, the issue remains major as the United States and its allies seek to tighten pressure on Putin, said vice-president Michael Green. -senior president for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
It seems pretty clear that the Biden administration isn’t looking for trouble with India and that most of these difficult conversations will take place in private, said Green, who was a senior National Security Council official during the George administration. W. Bush.
Some modest initiatives were to be announced by Quad leaders, including a new effort to provide pediatric COVID-19 vaccines to countries that need them most and a program to help nations improve the safety and environmental awareness of their territorial waters, according to a senior administration. official who previewed the upcoming announcements on condition of anonymity.
Last year, Quad pledged to donate 1.2 billion doses of the vaccine worldwide. So far, the group has provided around 257 million doses, the official said.
Biden will also meet Albanese, who was sworn in on Monday and immediately flew to Tokyo for the summit. The leaders spoke by phone after the leader of the centre-left Labor Party defeated Prime Minister Scott Morrison, ending nine years of Conservative rule in Australia.
When Biden was asked on Monday whether the United States would take military action if Beijing invaded Taiwan, he replied, “That’s the commitment we made.” He added that the idea of China taking Taiwan by force is simply not appropriate, comparing it to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Biden prefaced his response by saying that US policy hasn’t changed at all.
Yet the United States has traditionally avoided making such an explicit security guarantee to Taiwan, with which it no longer has a mutual defense treaty. Instead, he maintains a policy of strategic ambiguity about how far he would be willing to go.
The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which governed US relations with the island, does not require the United States to intervene militarily if China invades, but makes it US policy to ensure that Taiwan has the resources to defend themselves and to prevent any unilateral change of policy. status by Beijing.
The question is not negligible for Japan. Some 55,000 US troops are based in Japan, the bulk in Okinawa, just 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of the westernmost part of Taiwan.