The world is constantly changing at a rapid pace as new power centres emerge and old ones rejuvenate. China’s aggression in its maritime and land domain is a perfect example of the quick and rapid changes taking place in India’s neighbourhood. In this setting, the Quad’s four members, including India, have stepped up their efforts to protect their interests in all areas, including political, economic, environmental, and security. In the Indo-Pacific area, India has substantial strategic interests. It will need to build strategic alliances such as the Quad grouping to protect its interests against China’s unilateral growth in aggressiveness.
What exactly is QUAD?
The Quad or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is an informal strategic dialogue involving India, Australia, the United States, and Japan, which is an island nation. Its goal is to make the Indo-Pacific area “free, open, and wealthy.” Shinzo Abe, the former Japanese Prime Minister, first proposed the Quad grouping concept in 2007. The concept could not be pursued at the time since Australia had apparently withdrawn owing to Chinese pressure. Another cause for the Quad’s demise was Japan’s new pro-Beijing government and the reaffirmation of the India-China connection.
All four members of ASEAN re-entered talks to reestablish the quadrilateral security partnership during the 2017 ASEAN summit. They paved the way for the development of a new policy to preserve the Indo-Pacific region’s crucial water routes free of foreign influence, particularly Chinese influence. In the face of China’s aggressive postures in the region, the organisation now seeks to promote a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” India. Japan and the United States were in negotiations to invite Australia to Malabar for a quadrilateral coordinated naval exercise.
The Quad grouping will get a new military dimension as a result of this military exercise. These four countries have made it clear that China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific area must be controlled. Apart from restraining China’s growing power, the Quad also ensures that the Asian region is free of uncertainty.
The Quad is also a gathering of democratic countries that will undoubtedly aid in the promotion of democratic, rule-based, diverse, cooperative, and inclusive ideals.It will be more sustainable if the countries are able to balance their interests and include more substantive dimensions apart from the current cines.
DIPLOMAT -Diplomatic The Quad is a meeting place for diplomats. Quad sessions have attempted to address the Indo-Pacific region’s bigger agendas. Members have a high level of policy coordination on issues such as maritime security, terrorism, cyber security, and connectivity, all of which have an impact on the rules-based regional order. Even ASEAN collaboration, which is beneficial to maintaining peace and prosperity in the Asian area, can be supplemented by the Quad.
INTELLIGENCE– Intelligence Quad isn’t a strategic partnership yet. As a result, the amount of intelligence that can be shared among its members is limited. Regardless, there are indicators of increased information exchange in a number of military sectors, including marine domain awareness.
Because the Quad member’s key military assets are spread across the Indian Ocean, this vast geographical range offers a strategic advantage. In the marine industry, information sharing may be improved to combat concerns such as maritime terrorism and piracy. All four countries are developing information networks, with Australia, Japan, and the United States agreeing to share defense-related data. India has also started laying the groundwork for intelligence exchange with the United States and Japan.
MILITARY-The Quad’s military component does not play a significant role in deterrence. Military coordination between the Quad’s four members is restricted. Military-to-military interaction is, however, required. There are steps that may be taken to strengthen military readiness for any situation in the Indo-Pacific. The Indo-Pacific region’s states must develop their capacity. It will also be necessary to transmit military technology and defense equipment. States in the region continue to rely on larger powers like Russia and the United States. India can also play a supporting role in bolstering the regional governments’ military capability.
ECONOMY-Quad’s economic component will involve regional connectivity and economic integration. China’s Belt and Road Initiative has had a considerable impact on existing infrastructure development standards. China provides funds to a number of developing countries, which they employ to meet their infrastructure demands. Through the Indian Ocean, regional connectivity initiatives should strive to connect Far West Asia and Central Asia with South-East Asia. To promote regional connection and secure mutual interests in trade, commerce, connectivity, peace, and prosperity, investments in critical infrastructure should be made.
China and the Quad Nations
The Quad’s four members have some common concerns about China’s expanding power in the region, as they are all affected by China’s growing influence in their different spheres of influence.
USA- The United States has maintained a continuous policy of limiting China’s growing influence in East Asia. The Quad is seen by the United States as an opportunity to reclaim influence in the Indo-Pacific region. In its national security plan, national defense strategy, and Pentagon report on the Indo-Pacific strategy, the United States has referred to China as a strategic foe.
AUSTRALIA-Australia China’s rising interest in Australia’s land, infrastructure, politics, and universities has been a source of anxiety for the country. Taking into account the continent’s overwhelming economic reliance on China, it has maintained its commitment to a comprehensive strategic engagement with China. It is attempting to break free from its crippling reliance in regards to China.
Japan- Japan has expressed its displeasure with China’s territorial encroachment in the region. As a result of its extensive trading links with China, Japan must strike a balance between its economic requirements and territorial concerns.
INDIA-India China’s violations of international conventions, incursions of Indian borders, and buildup of military infrastructure, among other things, have constituted a severe threat to India. India must stand up to Chinese encroachment on its frontiers, protect its land and sea rights, and safeguard strategic autonomy.
India’s Benefits or Possibilities
For India, there are border clashes, the repercussions of the One Belt One Road Initiative, and the geopolitical implications of the China-Pakistan economic corridor. The Quad has numerous benefits that help it overcome these obstacles. India has a number of opportunities.
- A boost in defense spending China invests more on defense than Japan, Australia, and India combined. The participation of the United States in the organisation will provide India’s defence sector a much-needed boost, as it will aid in technology transfer and defence collaboration.
- Borders that are secure With China’s encroachment on India’s frontiers, Quad could prove to be a useful ally in limiting Chinese influence in India’s border regions. Both China’s and Pakistan’s involvement in pressuring India has exacerbated the situation on the northern frontiers. Quad can help to keep things in check in this circumstance.
- Indian Ocean Sustainability The Indian Ocean is the only ocean in the world named after a country, India. In the Indian Ocean region, India has the obligation of providing net security. India, along with the Quad nations, can challenge China’s String of Pearls or Maritime Silk Road, as well as its debt trap diplomacy, to provide sustainability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region.
- The Act East Policy of India With India’s participation in the Quad grouping, India’s Act East policy, which aims to improve economic, geopolitical, and cultural links with the large Asia-Pacific region, will be strengthened. It will also give a boost to SAGAR’s mission. SAGAR(security and growth for all in the region)
- The Region’s Stability India is concerned about the United States’ waning importance and the rise of China’s influence in the Indian Ocean and Asia. Instabilities in the regions that harm India’s interests may result from the imbalance caused by such a circumstance. As a result, Quad grouping may provide an opportunity to instill stability in its surrounding region.
Though the Quad Grouping has many tangible benefits, it also has a number of issues that must be addressed in order for it to be a success. These problems include the following:
- An Ambiguous Vision Despite the possibility of cooperation, the Quad remains a vehicle with no clear strategic goals. The separate interests of each country in the grouping can also be used to determine this. India seeks to advance all of the region’s security and economic interests, whereas the US wants a formal alliance.
- Non-alignments India’s foreign policy is based on the non-alignment idea. To confront the Chinese menace, India will need to forsake its non-alignment strategy and join a formal alliance with the US and two other countries in the form of the Quad.
- China’s ties with ASEAN China has lent the ASEAN area a large sum of money. It also has a number of strategic infrastructure projects and military bases in several ASEAN countries’ islands. Following the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) agreement, China’s influence in ASEAN has risen even further.
- There is no consensus among members. Each member of the Quad has a different strategic interest. They anticipate the Quad as a means of furthering their own interests and achieving their goals. There is no shared vision among the Quad members. Though progress has been achieved in several meetings among the members, a long-term vision document is required.
The Quad will have to develop its own distinct perspective. It will have to move beyond China’s centricity and be open to accommodate each other’s interests in order for “talks of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific” to become more than just that. To evolve, the Quad should focus on building a strong regional framework and collaborating with all regional parties.