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What are the Quad- related issues?

  • IAS NEXT, Lucknow
  • 13, Jan 2022
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The newly signed Japan-Australia defence agreement should be welcome to New Delhi, but there also ought to be some concerns.

Concerns for India:

  • There could be a warning for New Delhi in these efforts, that others are stitching up formal, institutionalized security cooperation that leave India out.
  • With two new security treaties now in the region in the space of just a few months—AUKUS being the other—and more potentially on their way, New Delhi needs to consider seriously whether its continuing scepticism of closer security cooperation with others best serves India’s interest.
  • More problematically, it is another indicator that India has not entirely escaped its traditional aversion to external security partnerships even when the limitations of its domestic capacities are self-evident.

India’s changing attitude towards China:

  • The coalescing of the region around shared concerns about China should be satisfying to India.
  • Like many in the region, India has in the past waffled about China, but its position has shifted considerably over the last several years, as China’s general hostility and aggressiveness at the border has become clearer.
  • Nevertheless, New Delhi is still reactive and playing catch-up, essentially responding to China’s moves rather than taking the initiative.

What needs to be done?

  • One way to compensate for this all-but-certain future is to strengthen efforts to build international counterweights to China’s power.
  • While India might not need direct help from partners in the Himalayas, it does need such help on the maritime front.
  • But that help would be possible only when India overcomes its ambivalence to stronger and deeper security cooperation with its partners in the region that goes beyond simply holding military exercises.

What is Quad grouping?

  • The quadrilateral security dialogue includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.
  • All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.
  • The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it.

Significance of the grouping:

  • Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.
  • Members share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific. Each is involved in development and economic projects as well as in promoting maritime domain awareness and maritime security.