The much anticipated first in-person summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is going to take place in the United States on Friday.
US President Joe Biden will host Quad Leaders’ Summit, which will be joined by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
The Quad is an inter-governmental security forum comprising India, Japan, Australia, and the US with a shared objective to support a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region that China seeks to threaten.
Last month, the White House said the Quad Leaders will focus on deepening ties and advancing practical cooperation on areas such as combating COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace, and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.
However, geopolitical analysts say that the grouping has a large role to play in security-related issues in the region with China on their minds.
China’s increased aggression in the South China Sea is aggravating regional tension. China’s unilateral claim on the Nine-Dash Line in the South China Sea; rapid warship building its first overseas base in Djibouti; and its surface and subsurface activities in the Indian Ocean beyond the Malacca Straits have alarmed regional countries.
The manner of China’s dismissal of the Arbitral Award in the dispute with the Philippines on the South China Sea, militarisation of the islands in the region, and individual conflicts with Quad countries have once again brought the four countries on the same page.
The issue of China as a very major global player came up during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s discussions with his counterparts from Australia and Japan in bilateral meetings on Thursday, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla informed.
Addressing a special press briefing on PM Modi’s first day of engagements in the US, Shringla said that several issues involving bilateral and regional issues of interest were discussed in the meetings.
“In Prime Minister’s bilateral meetings with Prime Ministers of Australia and Japan, discussions were wide-ranging encompassing several issues that involve bilateral and regional issues of interest. The issue of China as a very major global player did come up and of course, this is one of the many issues that were discussed,” the foreign secretary said on China’s conduct over the last couple of years.
India has converging interests with other Quad members on a variety of issues such as connectivity and infrastructure development, security including counter-terrorism; cyber and maritime security, and reform of multilateral institutions.
Support from Quad members on these issues can go a long way for India in realizing its strategic and economic goals.
The Quad provides a platform for India to seek cooperation from like-minded countries on various issues such as ensuring respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty and peaceful resolution of disputes.
It also demonstrates a united front to check the unceremonious and belligerent activities of China against India. This is especially crucial in present times as relations between India and China have ebbed due to border incursions along Tibet India border at more than one place.
India has to be a Net Security Provider in the Indian Ocean Region. For India to assert this role as a Region, its dominance in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) needs to be maintained and sustained.
Quad provides India with a platform to enhance security through partnership in the region as well as emphasize that its idea of Indo-Pacific stands for a free, open, and inclusive region.
Inclusive here means one that includes all countries within the geographical concept as well as others beyond with a stake in it.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a profound transformation globally adversely affecting global supply chains, manufacturing activities, and overall economies of countries.
Quad can help India not only to recover from the effects of the pandemic through several integrated and coordinated responses but can also help secure for itself a place in the new world order.
One of the first steps taken in 2021 has been enhancing such coordination. The vaccine project will be a good test for Quad governments to evolve a cooperative structure and help in framing the post-COVID-19 international order.
All four nations find a common ground of being democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.