The leaders of the United States, Japan, Australia and India are meeting in the Japanese capital, Tokyo, for a second in-person summit of the Indo-Pacific Quad grouping.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the leaders of the informal alliance, which was set up to counter China’s influence, are discussing climate change, technology, maritime surveillance, as well as the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – an issue that has risked division among the group.
India, which has close ties with Russia, is yet to condemn Moscow’s war.
US President Joe Biden, in his opening remarks, said the Quad’s goals of securing a “free and open” Indo-Pacific has only been heightened by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“We are navigating a dark hour in our shared history,” he said. “The Russian brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe … This is more than just a European issue. It’s a global issue.”
Biden is set to hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi following the Quad summit.
A White House official, speaking to reporters ahead of the event, said the US president was aware that countries have their own histories, interests and outlooks and “the idea is to build on the commonalities”.
However, the official added that there was broad understanding among the leaders that what was happening in Ukraine was “a serious threat to the international order”.
After meeting Modi, Biden is also set to hold separate talks with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who took up his post on Monday after his party won a general election last weekend.
Albanese told the Quad summit that his goals aligned with the priorities of the ad hoc group and pledged to stand together for a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.