AS the world watched the US-China diplomatic dust-off in Alaska, India took solace in the attention evoked by the Quad virtual summit and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin’s visit last month.
The summit was indeed successful beyond expectations, particularly as it moved from being a security dialogue to a framework. The Japan-US partnership, which has seen smooth continuity, is a cornerstone of the Indo-Pacific policies and the Quad. It is perhaps the model on which the Quad could work further.
The visits of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin to Japan and South Korea and the latter’s trip to India and Afghanistan have demonstrated the priority the Biden administration accords to Asia. This is particularly welcome since the Trump Administration was seen as missing from diplomatic parleys in Asia.
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was among the first leaders whom US President Joe Biden spoke to after taking charge. The mid-March meeting between the foreign and defence ministers of Japan and the US in Tokyo, amid the pandemic, gave positive signs for the development of this relationship and the partnerships built around them.
For the first time in seven years, the US secretaries of Defence and State travelled to Tokyo, whereas almost every year the Japanese ministers had been travelling to Washington DC.