Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to the United States to attend the first in-person meeting of the leaders of the Quad group on September 24, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Tuesday.

US President Joe Biden will host the meeting with Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison at the White House.

The US, India, Japan and Australia have sought to boost their cooperation in view of China’s increasing power, according to Reuters. The leaders of the four countries had held a virtual meeting in March, where they discussed Covid-19 vaccines, climate change and emerging technologies

The Ministry of External Affairs said that Quad leaders will review the progress they made since the virtual meeting and discuss matters of shared interest.

The ministry added: “As part of their ongoing efforts to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, they will review the Quad Vaccine initiative which was announced in March this year.”

As part of the initiative, India will produce US vaccines for countries in the Indo-Pacific region with funding from Japan and logistical assistance from Australia, The Indian Express reported.

At their meeting on September 24, Quad leaders will also discuss “critical and emerging technologies, connectivity and infrastructure, cyber security, maritime security, humanitarian assistance / disaster relief, climate change and education”, the Indian government said.

It added: “The summit would provide a valuable opportunity for dialogue and interactions among the leaders, anchored in their shared vision of ensuring a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

Meanwhile, the White House said Quad leaders will focus on promoting their cooperation in combating the coronavirus crisis.

China on Tuesday criticised the formation of the Quad, calling it a “clique” that will not be popular, PTI reported.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that any effort towards international cooperation should not target those who are not involved.

“China believes that any regional cooperation framework should go with the trend of the times and be conducive to mutual trust and cooperation between the regional countries,” he said. “It should not target any third party or harm their interests,” he said.

UN session

Modi, during his visit to the US, will also address the General Debate at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, the foreign ministry said. The session will take place in New York.

The theme for the debate this year is “building Resilience through hope to recover from Covid-19 rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations”, the ministry added.