Last month, U.S. President Joe Biden invited the leaders of Japan, Australia and India to join him online for a Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (“Quad”). Under the Trump administration, the foreign ministers of the Quad countries had convened twice since 2018, but the March 2021 summit represented the first meeting of the four heads of state.

The Quad concept was originally championed by Shinzo Abe in 2007, during his first stint as prime minister. India was reluctant to participate at the time, however, because it feared provoking China. Australia also worried about the potential impact on economic relations with China. Given the half-hearted response of the U.S., a crucial player, the Quad concept failed to gain traction.

Today, the circumstances are entirely different.