Question: The strengthening of QUAD group indicates a long term commitment to strengthen Indo-pacific region. Explain significance of QUAD in current international scenario.
Answer: QUAD is an informal strategic grouping between India, Japan, Australia, and USA as a mechanism to neutralize Chinese aggression in Asia Pacific. The QUAD was initiated in 2007 but was not given enough importance due to India’s growing relationship with China. Since the Dokhlam standoff, QUAD has gained traction among policy makers.
Characteristics of QUAD
- Security in Indo-pacific
The QUAD aims to secure Indo-pacific region that is a major route of trade between West and the East. Increasing Chinese aggression in South China sea has increased the need for a secure Indo-pacific region for global growth.
- Multilateral trade
QUAD has also been instituted as multilateral grouping to promote trade and commerce. This includes greater cooperation for investing in growing economies such as India. There have also been efforts to put higher pressure Chinese economy by levying tariffs.
- Cooperation in technological development
Technologically advanced economies such as USA and Japan do not have advantage of cheaper manufacturing like India and China. They have been trying to boost technological growth so that global supply chain can be sustained.
- Strengthening democratic values
The members of QUAD are vibrant democracies, which give high importance to citizen rights. Whereas China, which is the greatest opponent of the grouping practices dictatorship without upholding basic citizen rights.
Significance of QUAD in current scenario
- Tackle Chinese aggression
There are no doubts to conclude that QUAD primarily aims at countering China even though India has denied such claims. Considering the growing Chinese clout over subcontinent and Pacific, it is necessary to keep a counterbalance.
- Free and fair movement
The South China sea is a major trade route between East Asia and Middle East. But China’s actions have been against such free movement. Blocking of Malacca strait, artificially creating strategic islands are all contributing towards insecurity in the region.
- Enhancing infrastructure development
To tackle China’s Belt and Road Initiative, US has initiated Blue Dot Network in partnership with Australia and Japan. It plans to counter debt trap diplomacy of China by giving cheaper infrastructure option to small countries. This can expand into the QUAD group if Indian companies participate in it.