GS 2 : INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS:Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is the informal strategic dialogue between India, USA, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.
Recently in News:
- It is reported that the second Ministerial meeting of the four countries under the Quad will be held in Japan.
- The idea of Quad was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007.
- Idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it, apparently due to Chinese pressure.
- In December 2012, Shinzo Abe again floated the concept of Asia’s “Democratic Security Diamond” involving Australia, India, Japan and the US.
- To safeguard the maritime commons from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific.
- In November 2017, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending “Quad” Coalition.
- To keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence (especially China).
- Global financial crisis was still lurking in the shadows as America continued to enjoy its ‘unipolar moment’.
- There was no clearly enunciated concept or proposed structures, much less joint understandings.
- China’s reaction to the idea of four like-minded countries establishing a plurilateral platform was, prima facie, intriguing.
- The Chinese labelled it as an Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
- Years later that the real reason for China’s hyperreaction was out of concern.
- Such a grouping would out China’s plans for naval expansion by focusing on the Indo-Pacific maritime space.
- China was hoping that its naval build-up might slip under the radar.
- Americans were distracted by continental challenges including Russia, Afghanistan and Iran, and would not look sea-ward.
- Once the idea of Quad 1.0 had died down-
- China gained in confidence to reveal its hand.
- Advanced a new claim the Nine-Dash Line in the South China Sea.
- Then China undertook the rapid kind of warship building. (activity reminiscent of Wilhelmine Germany before 1914)
- It built its first overseas base in Djibouti.
- It started systematically to explore the surface and sub-surface environment in the Indian Ocean beyond the Malacca Straits.
- This entire activity was coordinated by a Central Leading Small Group for Protecting Maritime Rights and Interests, established in 2012.
- Once again brought the four countries onto the same page and given a second chance to the Quad.
- The manner of China’s dismissal of the Arbitral Award.
- In the dispute with the Philippines on the South China Sea.
- Its brazen militarisation of the islands after its President had publicly pronounced to the contrary.
- To share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.
- Vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific.
- in development and economic projects
- in promoting maritime domain awareness
- In maritime security.
- Is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US.
- There are also common references to
- the creation of a free,open and inclusive regional architecture
- rules of the road
- freedom of navigation
- ASEAN centrality.
- Chinese are skilled at obfuscation.
- They will, perhaps, endeavour to conflate the Quad with the Indo-Pacific vision.
- link both to the so-called China Containment Theory.
- The Quad is a plurilateral mechanism between countries that share interest on specific matters.
- Entire focus on the Indo-Pacific makes the Quad a maritime rather than a land-based grouping.
- Raising questions whether the cooperation extends to the Asia-Pacific and Eurasian regions.
- In 2016, China itself established a Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism with Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan.
- More recently earlier this year, another one with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal.
At the time of Global Pandemic:
- The four countries are navigating through more turbulent waters.
- The global pandemic and the faltering global economy are taking a toll on the region’s growth and prosperity.
- The two major Pacific powers (China and America), are moving into a more adversarial phase of their relationship.
- China in all four countries is different from what it used to be in 2007.
- The meeting itself will signal to China that assertive or aggressive behaviour is not going to derail this mechanism.
- Needless provocation of China should be avoided.
- There is no gain in actions that anger the Chinese with no commensurate benefit to the others.
- In a recent address to the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), spoke about
- making sure that all the countries were moving at the same speed.
- a plurilateral mechanism should also serve national interest.
- suggested that other countries might be invited to join in the future.
- India has many other partners in the Indo-Pacific.
- Need to better explain that the Indo-Pacific Vision is an overarching framework.
- discussed in a transparent manner
- with the objective of advancing everyone’s economic and security interests.
- The forthcoming Ministerial meeting will be an opportunity
- to define the idea and chart a future path.
- A positive agenda built around collective action in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
- Monitoring shipping for search and rescue or anti-piracy operations.
- Infrastructure assistance to climatically vulnerable states.
- Connectivity initiatives and similar activities
- will re-assure the littoral States that the Quad will be a factor for regional benefit.
- India should develop a comprehensive vision on the Indo-Pacific
- which would ideate on the maritime challenges.
- consolidate its military and non-military tools.
- engage its strategic partners.
- An outreach to the Indian Ocean littoral states is especially important.
A ‘broader Asia’ that broke away geographical boundaries is now beginning to take on a distinct form. It is the right time to realise this dream.