Biden: Leaders navigating ‘dark hour’ after Ukraine invasion

dark hour

Vice President Joe Biden informed fellow Indo-Pacific leaders gathered for a summit Tuesday that they were facing “a dark hour” in their shared history due to Russia’s war on Ukraine. He urged them to work harder to stop Vladimir Putin from attacking.

This is not a European problem. As the “Quad Summit” with India, Australia, and Japan got underway, Biden stated it was a global issue.

Although the president didn’t directly address any country, his message seemed to be directed at Narendra Modi (Indian Prime Minister), who is still at odds with him over how to respond to the Russian invasion.

Unlike other Quad countries, India and almost every other U.S. ally have not placed sanctions on or condemned Russia, its largest supplier of military hardware.

Biden made it clear that Modi was nearby and that the entire world had a responsibility to help Ukraine resist Russia’s aggression.

He said, “We are navigating a dark hour of our shared history.” “The Russian unprovoked and brutal war against Ukraine has created a humanitarian catastrophe. Innocent civilians were killed on the streets, and millions of refugees have fled to exile and are now internally displaced.”

He said, “The world must deal with it, and we are,”

Biden later spoke to reporters about their discussion on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its impact on the global order. Biden stated that India and the U.S. will continue to consult on “how to mitigate these adverse effects.”

In a sign of India’s relationship with Moscow, the Quad leaders’ post-summit joint statement did not mention Russia.

Modi’s comments did not mention the conflict in Ukraine. Instead, he ticked off several investment and trade programs discussed with President Obama.

The White House has been vocal in praising several Pacific countries, such as South Korea, Japan, and Singapore, for their willingness to strike back at Russia with harsh sanctions and export bans while also offering humanitarian and military aid to Kyiv.

The invasion was seen by many of the larger Asian powers as an opportunity for the world, including Russia, to show that it was not trying to take over disputed territory via military action.

Fumio Kishida, the Japanese Prime Minister, took note of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and told the other leaders that “We cannot allow the same thing to happen in the Indo-Pacific Region.”

The relative silence of India, the largest democracy globally, has disappointed the White House.

Biden asked Modi to stop accelerating the purchase of Russian oil as the U.S. looks to reduce Moscow’s energy income. Biden publicly called India “shaky” and said that the Indian prime minister did not make any public promises to stop buying Russian oil.

Faced with Western pressure, India condemned the deaths of civilians in Ukraine and demanded an immediate cessation of hostilities. It has also added to the fallout of a war that has led to a worldwide food shortage by banning wheat imports when starvation is increasing in some parts of the globe. In his public remarks at the summit, the Indian prime minister didn’t address Russia’s war on Ukraine.

Biden has been advocating Modi’s cause for several weeks.

They spoke out about the Russian invasion at a virtual Quad leader’s meeting in March. Last month, they had a brief video conversation when Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with their Indian counterparts.

Jake Sullivan, White House national security advisor, stated that the summit wouldn’t start a new conversation. It will continue the dialogue they have had about Ukraine’s situation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s impact on other concerns around the world.

Although Modi and Biden may not be in a public confrontation about how to respond to Russia’s aggression, the issue is still a significant one. ACCORDING TO MICHAEL GREEN, the U.S. and its allies are trying to increase pressure on Putin, senior vice-president for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“It seems pretty clear that the Biden administration does not seek trouble with India and that most difficult conversations will take place in private,” Green said. Green was a senior National Security Council aide under the George W. Bush administration.

Biden was on his first trip to Asia in the role of president, and this summit occurred during Biden’s final day of his five-day visit to Japan and South Korea.

This was also the first appearance of Anthony Albanese, Australia’s new Prime Minister, on the international stage. After being sworn in, the new premier flew to Tokyo Monday. Over the weekend, the center-left Labor Party defeated Prime Minster Scott Morrison. This ended nine years of conservative rule.

Biden, Modi, and Kishida welcomed Albanese into the club. They expressed their admiration for his willingness to join the informal security alliance quickly after he assumed office.

Albanese was told by Biden, who seemed a little tired from his travels, that “I don’t know how you’re doing it.” Biden joked that it would not be a problem if the new prime minister fell asleep during the meeting.

Biden would meet with Albanes separately later Tuesday. As Biden moves to adjust U.S. foreign policies to emphasize the region and counter China’s rise in economic and security power, the four-way partnership is becoming more relevant. On Monday, he held bilateral talks with summit host Kishida.

Albanese assured his fellow Quad leaders that he was committed to the group’s mission to preserve a free Indo-Pacific.

Albanese stated that although there has been a change in government in Australia, Australia’s commitment towards the Quad has not changed or will not change.

The looming threat to the talks of the Quad leaders was Biden’s unambiguous statement Monday that the U.S. Biden’s blunt statement on Monday that the U.S. would intervene militarily in case China invaded Taiwan, stating that Taiwan’s protection is more important than ever after Russia’s invasion. The White House insists that Biden’s unusually assertive comments about Taiwan were not a shift in U.S. policies toward the island, which China claims to be its own.

Biden answered “No” when reporters asked him Tuesday about his comments on Taiwan the day before.

The Quad leaders announced a few modest initiatives, including a new initiative to distribute pediatric COVID-19 vaccinations to the neediest countries and a program to help nations increase security and environmental awareness in their territorial waters.

Last year, the Quad pledged to give 1.2 billion vaccine doses worldwide. According to the Biden administration, approximately 257 million vaccine doses have been distributed by the Quad so far.

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