- The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is an informal strategic forum between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States of America maintained by semi-regular summits, information exchanges, and military drills between member countries. First established in 2007-08, the medium has restarted after negotiations since November 2017 and as it stands now, clearly started gaining more traction, heft, and is emerging as a force-to-reckon with within the geostrategic location of Indo-Pacific to counter the growing adventurism and expansionist endeavors of China.
- Popularly known as the Quad, the first summit of leaders last week saw the grouping definitively move to a concrete geopolitical fixture with Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing it as a force for global good and an important pillar of stability in the increasingly volatile Indo-Pacific region. As we are all aware, the Indian government’s initial reluctance to press ahead with tactical moves to strengthen the forum had left many experts wondering. After the Galwan valley misadventure along the LAC and resultant eyeball-to-eyeball confrontational approach on the Eastern borders of Ladakh did finally forced the establishment to shed erstwhile inhibitions against China.
- Since then, the Indian establishment has adopted gloves off style whilst dealing with the Dragon Nation where earlier misadventures used to be usually brushed under the carpet. As our brave soldiers were martyred fighting to ensure sovereignty is not compromised, the narrative has changed for good leading to tough posturing vis-à-vis neighboring country. Further, there is no love lost between the USA and China as both economic superpowers compete to establish hegemony internationally. Therefore, it is no surprise to witness the Quad is shifting beyond an exclusive security dimension, exemplified by its ambitious target of producing a billion doses of anti-Covid vaccine.
- Under the project, India will manufacture Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid shot with financing from the US and Japan, while Australia will use its admirable logistics capabilities to ship the vaccines to intended beneficiaries in Southeast Asian and Pacific countries. A pragmatic beginning in the form of a vaccine project has been made for Quad governments to enhance their coordination eventually giving rise to cooperative structures. Chinese aggressive moves require many such suitable countering measures from the Quad members to ensure the Indo-Pacific region remains balanced by also initiating several practical steps.
- Simply because there are multiple issues on which Quad members have different perspectives. The most pressing issue presently being played out is the Myanmar crisis where the US has been proactively condemning the military coup but India exercising restraint given the latter’s long relationship with the Junta over there. Bringing along Myanmar back to the path of democracy is paramount and India can essay a significant roleplay here. Undeniably, the formation of Quad has riled the Chinese to no end which has been saying that India is a negative asset for BRICS and SCO (Multi-Country Forums involving China). The fact of the matter is, the Quad is here to stay.