4th Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

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    In News 

    • Recently,4th Quad Foreign Ministers’ meeting was held in Australia 

    Major Highlights of Meeting 

    • The Quad foreign ministers reaffirmed their support to principles of openness, protection of national sovereignty and observance of rules and fair play, in remarks seen as a message to China.
      • The Quad is pursuing work on 5G technology and vendor diversification to maintain a diverse, open and interoperable telecommunication ecosystem through collaboration with like-minded partners.
    •  Global issues: 
    • The joint statement called for a return to democracy in Myanmar, and also condemned North Korea’s recent ballistic missile tests.
    • They also took a sharp line on the build-up of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine in recent weeks
    • They agreed to boost maritime security support for Indo Pacific partners to strengthen their maritime domain awareness and ability to develop their offshore resources, to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight and to combat challenges such as illegal fishing, terrorism and cyber threats.
    • Vaccines initiative:
      • They have agreed to take steps to speed up the Quad grouping’s efforts to deliver affordable Covid-19 vaccines to countries in the Indo-Pacific. 
        • They aim to deliver at least one billion vaccines produced at Hyderabad’s Biological E facility by the end of 2022 to Indo-Pacific countries and to pledge to donate 1.3 billion vaccine doses globally. 
    • Condemnation of terrorist attacks in India:
      • They reiterated condemnation of terrorist attacks in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks, indicating two attacks linked to the Lashkar e Toiba and Jaish e Mohammad in Pakistan.
        • They call on all countries to ensure that territory under their control is not used to launch terror attacks and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks.

    About QUAD

    • It is also known as Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD).
    • QUAD is an informal group of India, the US, Japan and Australia.
    • It is a strategic dialogue with the objective to ensure a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo Pacific.
    • Shared values between the nations are
      • Political democracies
      • Market economies
      • Pluralistic societies
    • Timeline:
      • 2007: Japanese PM Shinzo Abe mooted the idea of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue
        • Could not materialise due to the reluctance of Australia
      • December 2012: Shinzo Abe again initiated a concept of Asia’s Democratic Security Diamond, involving Australia, India, Japan and the US.
        • The aim was to safeguard the maritime commons from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific.
      • November 2017: QUAD Coalition was finally given a present-day form with the active participation of India, the US, Australia and Japan.
        • The aim was to keep critical sea routes open and free for navigation in the Indo-Pacific.
      • Foreign ministers of the four countries held their first meeting under the ‘Quad’ framework in New York in September 2019.
    •  Quad members have also indicated a willingness to expand the partnership through a so-called Quad Plus that would include South Korea, New Zealand, and Vietnam amongst others.

    Importance of QUAD for India

    • Countering Chinese Influence: Recent stand-offs on the Indo-China Border and the reluctance of Russia to step in and build pressure is forcing India to look for alternatives.
    • Post-COVID Diplomacy: The disruption across the world and non-transparent systems of China pose an opportunity for India to take lead and become the World’s Manufacturing Hub.
      • India can leverage its expertise in the vaccine and pharma industry to increase its soft power.
      • Further, Japan and the US want to shift their manufacturing companies out of China in order to curb its imperialistic behavior.
    • India under the SAGAR initiative wants to become a net security provider in the Indian Ocean.
      • QUAD cooperation may give India access to multiple strategic locations for creating Naval bases.
    • Multipolar World: India has supported a rule-based multipolar world and QUAD can help it in achieving its ambition of becoming a regional superpower.
    • The climate crisis calls for urgency in action. Quad nations are already driving their efforts toward climate ambition, including working on the 2030 targets for national emissions and renewable energy, clean-energy innovation, and deployment. 
      • The most commendable commitment is their focus on increasing the Indo-Pacific region’s resilience to climate change by improving critical climate information-sharing and disaster-resilient infrastructure.

    Challenges before QUAD

    • Formal opposition by China: China has formally intimated its displeasure over the QUAD meetings.
      • The Chinese called the Quad mechanism “only a tool to contain China.” 
    • Each of the Quad members is threatened by China’s actions in the South China Sea and its attempts to extend its sphere of influence through initiatives such as the One Belt One Road Project. 
      • The One Belt One Road Initiative, Maritime Silk Route, Unsustainable Debt and Project Fundings, etc are being deployed by China to attract small nations.
    •  China is trying to leverage its position in Trade and Commerce to arm-twist other nations
    • Different Aspirations of QUAD Nations: QUAD’s coherence may suffer due to 
      • India’s bid to balance QUAD and RIC (Russia, India and China)
      • The reluctance showed by Australia for QUAD-in past, 
      • Japan and the US are seeking their own economic interests with China.
      • Also, there is a lack of coherence in the definition of Indo-Pacific.

    Way Forward

    • There is the need for continued discussions and efforts to build resilient supply chains, enhance the availability of trusted critical technologies, counter disinformation and uphold rules-based multilateral trading systems to contribute to fostering global economic resilience.
    • All the member countries must develop a unified approach to tackle China rather than act in Individual interests.
    • QUAD can be an effective tool to counter Chinese adventure and imperialism ambitions in the Indo-Pacific.
    • The Quad nations have begun holding annual naval exercises across the Indo-Pacific to demonstrate interoperability, and the United States itself conducts freedom of navigation patrols in the South China Sea.

    Source: TH