US President Biden to hold virtual summit with Japan, Australia, India leaders

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US President Joe Biden will hold a virtual summit Thursday with the leaders of the other members of the Quad grouping Japan, Australia and India, New Delhi said.

The statement from India’s foreign ministry came a day after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin for the second time since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last week.

The US has called on Delhi to use its “leverage” with Moscow.

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The Indian statement made no mention of the Ukraine crisis, saying that Biden, Modi, Fumio Kishida and Scott Morrison would “exchange views and assessments about important developments in the Indo-Pacific.”

The grouping is seen as a bulwark against China, and there have been concerns in India and elsewhere that the Ukraine crisis would distract Washington from the region.

The meeting could also be an opportunity for the other leaders to press Modi to take a more critical line on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

India, which leaned towards the Soviet Union in the Cold War and maintains strong ties with Moscow, has urged Russia and Ukraine to cease hostilities but has stopped short of condemning the invasion.

On Wednesday, it again abstained in a UN resolution deploring Russia’s actions.

The brief statement added that the four leaders would “review ongoing efforts to implement the Leaders’ initiatives announced as part of the Quad’s contemporary and positive agenda.”

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