Virtual Summit of Quad

News: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will be participating, along with Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga and President of U.S.A. Joseph R. Biden, in the first Leaders’ Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework, being held virtually.

Details:

  • The Leaders will discuss regional and global issues of shared interest, and exchange views on practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
  • The Summit will provide an opportunity to exchange views on contemporary challenges such as resilient supply chains, emerging and critical technologies, maritime security, and climate change.
    The Leaders will discuss ongoing efforts to combat Covid-19 pandemic and explore opportunities for collaboration in ensuring safe, equitable and affordable vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region.

Quad

  • 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.
  • The idea of Quad was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the 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 develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence (especially China).

Different Aspects of Quad countries for China

  • USA had followed a policy to contain China’s increasing influence in East Asia. Therefore, USA sees the coalition as an opportunity to regain its influence in the Indo-Pacific region. The US has described China, along with Russia, as a strategic rivalin its National Security Strategy, National Defence Strategy and the Pentagon’s report on Indo-Pacific Strategy.
  • Australia is concerned about China’s growing interest in its land, infrastructure and politics, and influence on its universities. Taking into account its overwhelming economic dependence on China for prosperity, Australia has continued its commitment to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with China.
  • In the last decade, Japan has expressed concerns related to China’s territorial transgression in the region. Trade volume with China remains the key lifeline to the Japanese economy, where net exports contributed exactly one-third of Japan’s economic growth since the beginning of 2017. Therefore, considering its importance, Japan is balancing its economic needs and territorial concerns with China. Japan has also agreed to involve in the Belt and Road Initiative by participating in infrastructure programs in third country. In this way, Japan can mitigate Chinese influence in those countries while improving relations with China.

Opportunities for India:

  • The maritime space is a lot more important to China than engaging in opportunistic land grab attempts in the Himalayas. A huge chunk of Chinese trade happens via the Indian oceanic routes that pass through maritime chokepoints. In the event of any chinese aggression on borders, India by cooperation with Quad countries can potentially disrupt chinese trade. Hence, unlike in the continental sphere where India seems facing a ‘nutcracker like situation’ due to China-Pakistan collusion, the maritime sphere is wide open to India to undertake coalition building, rule setting, and other forms of strategic exploration.
  • There is a growing great power interest in the maritime sphere, especially with the arrival of the concept of ‘Indo-Pacific’. For instance, many european countries have recently released their Indo-Pacific strategies.
  • With India, located right at the centre of the Indo-Pacific geopolitical imagination can realise the vision of a ‘broader Asia’ that can extend its influence away from geographical boundaries.
  • Moreover, India can build 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.
  • Further, India with Quad countries can check imperialist policies of China in Indian ocean region and ensure Security and growth for all in the region.