September 27, 2022 6:20 am

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Is QUAD, An Indo-Pacific NATO?

Quad comprises four democracies of the Indo-Pacific namely India, Australia, Japan and the United States. The main objective of Quad is to promote peace, free trade and a prosperous Indo-Pacific.

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With the changing security scenario in the Indo-Pacific region and an assertive China on the rise, a need was felt to establish a strategic alliance which would ensure everlasting peace and security in the Indian Ocean region. The idea of Quad was initially pitched by former Japanese PM late Shinzo Abe in 2007.

Quad stands for Quadrilateral Security Dialogue which comprises four democracies of the Indo-Pacific namely India, Australia, Japan and the United States. The main objective of Quad was to promote peace, free trade and a prosperous Indo-Pacific.

Origin of Quad

The origin of Quad can be dated back to the relief operation conducted by India during the 2004 Tsunami. India was then accompanied by US, Japan and Australia in the relief operation. All the countries then felt a need to have a common forum for the promotion peaceful Indo-Pacific region.

The countries leaders met for the first time on the sidelines of ASEAN summit in 2007. 

The period from 2007-2017

  • In 2007 Quad leaders initially met to have a common Naval exercise for all four member countries.
  •  After which Quad remained stagnant for years with no significant progress.
  •  Australia withdrew from the Quad in view of Chinese pressure.
  •  Due to the increased security risks in the Indo-Pacific region, the Quad was re-grouped in 2017

Objectives of Quad

  1. The main Objective of Quad is to safeguard the security of the Indo-Pacific region
  1. Quad countries have vowed to combat Covid in the region through vaccine diplomacy
  1. In the recent summit the leaders discussed for affirmative actions towards climate change, decarbonization efforts in shipping and port operations and deployment of clean hydrogen technology
  1. The alliance aims to create a conducive ecosystem for investment in the region and promote technological innovation .

China’s suspicion of Quad

In 2020, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticised  Quad calling it an “Indo-Pacific NATO”. China has always been critical of the grouping which it perceives as an attempt by United states to encircle it. 

China’s comparison of NATO with Quad needs a revisit. 

  • Quad unlike the NATO is an informal grouping of nations for promotion of secure Indo-Pacific. The objective of Quad clearly communicates its non-military character. 
  • Quad countries have vowed to distribute vaccines to the Indo Pacific countries with India as a manufacturer, Japan and the US as financier and Australia giving logistic support. 
  • Quad nations are focussed on investing in technology and to build the capacity of member nations to combat climatic change challenges.

What lies for India in the Quad

  • India is the only country among the Quad which shares a border with China.
  •  India can utilise Quad to pitch its demand for a permanent membership in the United Nation Security Council.  
  • India can utilise the technological capability of its QUAD partners to move in the direction of Blue economy.
  • With long standing border standoff with China , India can modernise its armed forces with state-of-the-art technology with the assistance of its QUAD allies.
  • India can project its soft power to consolidate its influence in the region through steps like vaccine diplomacy.

Conclusion

 China is involved in disputes in the western Pacific region over its illegitimate claims. It is threatening smaller democratic countries like Taiwan in the region. It is the moral duty of like-minded countries like the QUAD, to work for a peaceful and free Indo-Pacific zone. India along with its allies should work towards empowering the smaller littoral countries of Indo-Pacific, especially in the post Covid era.

The Indian Affairs Staff
The Indian Affairs Staff

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