By: Rajini KG
June 8 2023
India attended the 2023 Quad Leaders' Summit in Japan and is reported to host the next one. The Quad will not replace India with any other nation.
India’s position on international issues, its geopolitical stature, and its global image often grabs the attention of several social media user. Ashok Swain, a columnist, and professor of peace and conflict research at Sweden’s Uppsala University, who often writes on such matters, on June 4 tweeted to his more than 540,000 followers a picture of four world leaders with a caption suggesting that India had or could be dropped from the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or the Quad. Quad is an informal strategic security forum comprising the United States of America (USA), India, Australia, and Japan. The picture shared by Swain shows leaders from the USA, the Philippines, Japan, and Australia in front of the flags of their respective countries. Swain captioned the image, "Quad remains - India out, the Philippines in?" insinuating that the Philippines has or could replace India as a Quad member. His tweet has garnered over 77,000 views and more than 1,060 likes so far.
The most recent Quad Leaders’ Summit was held in Hiroshima, Japan, on May 20, 2023, and was widely reported in the international press. The summit was attended by Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Japan Kishida Fumio, as well as President of the United States Joe Biden.
The White House, the Australian government’s Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and India’s Press Information Bureau (PIB)—all four had released press statements about the May 20 meeting. All the statements noted the participation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi apart from leaders of the other three countries. The Australian Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also shared pictures of the four leaders including PM Modi. This clearly establishes that India was very much part of the latest Quad Summit. Any leader from the Philippines or any other nation was not a part of the Quad Leader's meeting. The press releases also do not mention anything about plans to include the Philippines in the four-nation forum or India considering walking out of it at any point.
In a report published on May 20, Reuters also reported that PM Modi said that India will host the US, Japan and Australia for the next Quad summit in 2024. In Hiroshima, for the third in-person summit, the Quad leaders had gathered to discuss critical issues concerning Indo-Pacific region and and develop an agenda to address the same. They made no announcement, either, of possible plans for the Philippines to join the Quad Summit or of India considering to leave or being removed from the forum. The statements released after the Quad Summit also do not mention the Philippines at all.
The viral image shared by Swain was captured during the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue, a reverse image search revealed. The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue is a premier defence summit organised by independent think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). The summit was held in Singapore from June 2 to 4, 2023. According to IISS, defense ministers and delegates from over 50 countries, including India, participated in the 2023 summit, where they exchanged the region's most serious security issues and developed strategies.
Japan-based news agency Kodyo News had also published the image on June 3. The caption on the image stated that the people seen in the photograph are Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles, Japanese Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada, Philippine Defense Minister Carlito Galvez, and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Representatives from the four countries had met to discuss a concerted attempt to counter China's rising maritime aggression in the Indo-Pacific regions, according to Kodyo News. It makes it clear that the viral image is from a meeting held by Australia, America, Japan, and the Philippines on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue and not the Quad Leaders’ Summit.
United States Defense Secretary Lloyd J Austin III posted the same image taken from a different angle on June 3, 2023, on his Twitter account. Japan's Ministry of Defense also posted the image from another angle. The tweets also make no mention of the Philippines replacing India as a Quad member at any point.
An image of four world leaders from a summit in Singapore was misrepresented to insinuate India is not or may no longer remain a part of the Quad. There is no indication from any of the member countries or the collective of any such move. India attended the latest Quad Leaders’ Summit and is reported to hold the next one. Therefore, we mark this claim false.