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Biden visits India in 2013. Photo: Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty

President Biden and his counterparts from India, Japan and Australia — collectively known as "the Quad" — will announce a plan to increase vaccine supplies to countries in Asia during a video summit on Friday, a senior administration official told reporters.

Why matters: This is the first time that a Quad summit will bring together the leaders of all four countries, demonstrating a growing commitment to a group the U.S. sees as key to countering the influence of China in the Indo-Pacific.

  • The senior official also announced new Quad initiatives on climate change and technology in a press call on Thursday night.
  • These initiatives mark a significant expansion beyond the Quad's previous emphasis on security cooperation, something that government officials in the U.S. and other nations in the region have called for as China's footprint grows.

What they're saying: "President Biden has worked hard to bring these leaders together to make a clear statement of the importance of the Indo-Pacific region. It’s our contribution at the outset to regional architecture for a region we will be defining in the 21st century," the senior official said.

  • The goal is "building habits of cooperation" and strengthening the "bonds and ties that already exist among our four strong democracies."

Driving the news: The main agreement to be announced at the meeting is a plan to boost manufacturing capacity for vaccines to be distributed in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly from companies in India.

  • The countries will also coordinate on building "last-mile capacity" to deliver those doses all the way to the people who will receive the jabs.
  • But a senior administration official said the U.S. would not be announcing any steps to distribute vaccines manufactured in or purchased by the U.S.
  • Between the lines: China's pledges to provide doses to countries in its neighborhood and around the world have put the Biden administration — which is focusing almost entirely on the domestic rollout — on the back foot.

What's next: The senior official confirmed that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will be the first foreign leader to visit Biden at the White House. Axios' Hans Nichols first reported that the meeting would be taking place next month.

Worth noting: Former defense secretary Jim Mattis co-wrote a piece, published in Foreign Policy on Wednesday, arguing that "making the Quad work could be Biden’s most important task in Asia."

Go deeper

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A temperature "misery index" shows peak levels across the Southwest (orange and yellow), and the upper air flow shows how the jet stream is being pushed north, away from the heat dome parked over the Four Corners region. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A punishing and long-enduring heat wave is intensifying in parts of the West and Southwest, with heat warnings and advisories in effect across seven states Wednesday. The heat will not relent until late in the weekend.

Threat level: In the coming days, 40 million are likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees.

Updated 36 mins ago - World

Putin calls Biden summit "constructive," but blames U.S. for tensions

Photo: Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his summit with President Biden was "constructive," and that the countries had agreed their ambassadors would imminently return to their posts in Moscow and Washington.

What he's saying: "Many of our joint positions are divergent but nevertheless I think both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions," Putin told reporters at a press conference following the meetings, according to a translator.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Live updates: Putin concludes press conference, Biden up next

President Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva for less than four hours of talks on Wednesday, a highly anticipated summit that comes as both sides say U.S.-Russia relations have sunk to a new post-Cold War low.

The latest: At a press conference following the conclusion of the summit, Putin called the talks "very constructive' and announced that the U.S. and Russia's respective ambassadors would return to their posts.