QUAD Grouping

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    In News

    • Recently, the External Affairs Minister said that the Quad comprising the U.S., India, Japan and Australia—is the most prominent plurilateral platform.

    More about the news

    • The minister was delivering a lecture on ‘India’s Vision of the Indo-Pacific’
    • Viewpoints of External Affairs minister about QUAD:
      • Indo-Pacific:
        • India envisages a free, open, inclusive and peaceful Indo-Pacific built on a rules-based order and sustainable and transparent infrastructure investment.
        • He said the prospects for the global order depend on a more equitable and democratic distribution of power and resources.
      • ASEAN:
        • India also envisages the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to be at the centre of the Indo-Pacific, both literally and substantively.
      • India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway: 
        • It has the potential of creating a completely new axis of economic activity in Asia. 
      • China’s objection:
        • According to him, any reservations to the activities of the four-nation bloc (QUAD) is possibly a “unilateralist opposition to collective and cooperative endeavours”.
        • He also said the India-China relationship is going through an “extremely difficult phase”.

    Significance

    • China factor:
      • China has formally intimated its displeasure over the QUAD meetings.
      • The narrative of the Quad as an anti-China tool (with a range of epithets, from “sea foam” to “Asian NATO”) promoted by China along with its belligerent tactics in the neighbourhood .
      • Japan and India are closest to China, and both face belligerent Chinese claims to territory
    • Not an alliance but a grouping:
      • The U.S. says Quad is not an alliance but a grouping of countries driven by shared interests and values and interested in strengthening a rules-based order in the strategically-important Indo-Pacific region.

    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
        • It could not materialize 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.

     

    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’s SAGAR initiative:
      • 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.
    • Climate Change:
      • 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.

     

    Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN):

    • About:
      • It is a political and economic organization aimed primarily at promoting economic growth and regional stability among its members.
    • Foundation:
      • It was founded in 1967 by the five South-East Asian nations of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
      • Brunei Darussalam joined in 1984, Vietnam in 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar in 1997, and Cambodia in 1999, making up to ten Member States of ASEAN.
      • Current members:
        • Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
    • ASEAN Summit:
      • It is the highest policy-making body in ASEAN comprising the Head of States or Government of ASEAN Member States.
      • Summit is held twice annually.
      • The First ASEAN Summit was held in Bali, Indonesia in 1976.

     

    India–Myanmar–Thailand Trilateral Highway (IMT Highway)

    • It is a 1,360 km long highway in the maing under India’s Look East policy 
    • It will connect Moreh, India with Mae Sot, Thailand via Myanmar.
    • The road is expected to boost trade and commerce in the ASEAN–India Free Trade Area, as well as with the rest of Southeast Asia
    • India has also proposed extending the highway to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
      • The proposed approx 3,200 km route from India to Vietnam is known as the East-West Economic Corridor.
      • This highway will also connect to the river ports being developed along the way at Kalay (also called Kalaymyo) and Monywa on the Chindwin River

    Source: TH