Backdrop of Quad
Thirteen years ago, an Indian, an American, an Australian, and a Japanese walked into a room in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. And this was no joke. They were representing their governments at a meeting known as “The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue” or “the Quad.”. The initiative was to facilitate conversation and cooperation between the four maritime democracies in the context of the rise of China.
In 2007, the structurally weak group fell apart, largely because Australia and to some extent India got cold feet over how much to push China without impacting other dimensions of their bilateral relationships with Beijing.
Getting the band back together
In recent time, the hostility graph between the Quad countries and China has plunged to a nadir, as it has been the most important driver of the Quad’s evolution. Ergo, for the first time in the Quad’s history, the stars are aligning for a harder line on China.
Beginning with Australia, perceptions of China have progressively dimmed in recent years. Due to a variety of tensions arising from Beijing’s South China Sea and Taiwan policies, promotion of Huawei in Australia, growing influence in Australian politics and academia, also Australia’s blame to China for the Coronavirus outbreak.
In recent months, India’s relationship with China has also deteriorated markedly, particularly along the disputed land border, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Japanese support of the Quad has never been in doubt, namely because it was Abe’s idea in 2006 to convene like-minded democratic partners in a quadrilateral format to counter China.
Finally, the United States, under the Trump administration has embraced the Quad as a mechanism to maintain a “free and open” Indo-Pacific region in the face of rising Chinese assertiveness. Of the four countries, the United States (may) be the most anti-Chinese.
Now, the Quad has been revived, a decade after its first exploratory meeting. On the positive side, the Quad would finally have a concrete objective, to counter China, which has been severely lacking in the past.
Opportunities for India Under Quad Arrangement
India has benefits to avail from the Quad as its complex relation with China has ranged from positive, to currently negative.
In the event of any chinese aggression on borders, India by cooperation with Quad countries can disrupt chinese trade. As a huge chunk of Chinese trade happens via the Indian oceanic routes that pass through maritime chokepoints.
With India, located right at the centre of the Indo-Pacific, India with Quad countries can check imperialist policies of China in Indian ocean region and ensure Security and growth for all in the region.
Due to growing concerns over China’s unprecedented actions against world peace. It is necessary that Quad should work out a time-bound action plan to resist China’s aggression.
The first step in this direction should be to recognise Taiwan and take measures to ensure that Taiwan becomes a full-fledged member of the UN. China has been threatening to invade Taiwan for a long time and it may do so at any time in future.
The second meeting of the Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue
After its revival, the Quad met for the second time at “The second meeting of the Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue of Foreign Ministers” which was held in Tokyo.
The meeting was planned when the Foreign Ministers (FMs) had met at the UN General Assembly. Australia’s FM Marise Payne, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended the meeting.
The precise discussions could be found at various sites. But I want to put a conclusion to the meeting, who’s elements of discussions revolved around the unprecedented actions of the People’s Liberation of China. As Pompeo said, in an interview “this is the Chinese using coercive power. This isn’t how great nations operate. So our mission is to reduce that.”
The Quad’s second ministerial meeting was significant in terms of demonstrating the four countries’ commitment to enhancing cooperation based on shared interests. Looking ahead, the Quad’s evolution would be expected to bring about changes in the regional architecture and, potentially, the role of ASEAN-centric mechanisms in this architecture. As the ministers reiterated their firm support to ASEAN centrality and highlighted their readiness to work towards realizing a common vision for the Indo-Pacific.
Penned by Tanishq Badliwal