Quad Grouping

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    In News

    • The Indian PM will visit Washington for the Quad Summit and New York for UNGA.
      • China has slammed the QUAD grouping.

    Recent Viewpoints of External Affairs minister about QUAD

    • Broad and Substantive Agenda:
      • As against the Chinese remark of QUAD being an “Exclusive Cliques” targeting other countries, QUAD has several cooperation agendas.
    • The Era of Plurilateralism:
      • In the present era Multilateralism shows inability to address key issues of the day.
        • Whereas bilateralism has its own shortcomings.
      • In such time, different plurilateral groups can pool both funds and necessary resources to forward proper rule based agendas and order.
    • Other similar Plurilateral Groups:
      • The Indo Pacific is witnessing several similar plurilateral agreements. between France, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives etc being active parts.
    • Force of Unification rather than Fragmentation:
      • QUAD nations have a good track record with respect to upholding international laws and want rule based order.
      • They have also set an example of collaboration and integration in the region.
      • This consultative process has adopted the middle path which is often the best path.
      • India has been the first responder to any calamity in the Indian Ocean Region with initiatives like SAGAR..

    About QUAD

    • It is also known as Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD).
    • QUAD is an informal group of India, 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

    Backdrop of QUAD Formation

    • Rising Chinese Influence and Assertion in Indo-Pacific
    • Chinese unilateral claim over Nine-Dash Line and ignorance of International Court of Arbitration Verdict
    • India China Standoff
    • Iron fist handling of Hongkong Protests
    • Imperialistic attitude toward Taiwan.

    A Brief 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 active participation of India, US, Australia and Japan.
      • The aim was to keep critical sea routes open and free for navigation in the Indo-Pacific.
    • September 2019: Foreign ministers of the four countries held their first meeting under the ‘Quad’ framework in New York.
    • 2020: Quad meetings are no longer unusual. But this one was special because it included three additional Indo-Pacific powers: NewZealand, South Korea and Vietnam. 

    Importance of QUAD for India

    • Countering Chinese Influence: 
      • Recent stand-offs on the Indo-China Border and 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 behaviour.
    • Net Security Provider in Indian Ocean: 
      • 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.

    Challenges before QUAD

    • Formal opposition by China: China has formally intimated its displeasure over the QUAD meetings.
      • It is being termed as Asian NATO.
    • Trade and Supply Chains: As seen recently, China is trying to leverage its position in Trade and Commerce to arm-twist other nations especially China and Japan.
      • Recently, MV Anastasia, an Australian coal-carrying ship was stranded for more than a month on the Chinese Coast. Even Indian Sailors got trapped in that.
      • China threatened to stop the supply of rare earth metals to the Japanese electronic industry.
      • The Corona pandemic disrupted the Global supply chain due to lockdown in China.
    • Chinese Closeness to ASEAN: With the signing of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), ASEAN and China have come further close.
    • Cheque Book Diplomacy of China: The One Belt One Road Initiative, Maritime Silk Route, Unsustainable Debt and Project Fundings, etc are being deployed by China to attract small 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 shown 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 on the definition of Indo-Pacific.

    Way Forward

    • Strengthening Blue Dot Network
      • All 4 countries must pool their resources to check the Economic might of China, rather than just letting it function as a certification agency for infrastructure projects.
    • Coherent strategy: All the member countries must develop a unified approach to tackle China rather than act in Individual interests.
    • Formalise the talks: The formalisation may help to give QUAD a more structured format.
    • QUAD can be an effective tool to counter Chinese adventure and imperialism ambitions in the Indo-Pacific.

    Source: TOI