QUAD : A Much Needed Counter Force


Last week a big development took place, I mean … the foundation of a big step was laid in the direction of development. QUAD … which stands for QUADRILATERAL DIALOGUE and as the name suggests contains 4 members India, USA, Japan and Australia. Many of you may ask what is so special, there are hundreds of dialogues and agreements between different countries across the world. The answer is QUAD is not just a simple dialogue or agreement, but according to many experts is the answer to rising China with the aim of safeguarding the common maritime area between Indian and Western Pacific Ocean. Well … the timing also confirms the claim. Now, let us look at the history of the organization comprising four biggest Democracies of the world.

QUAD Summit 2021: Here Is What The Quadrilateral Security Leaders,  Including PM Narendra Modi, Said In The Virtual Meeting

History behind QUAD

It was in 2007 when the four countries first met in Manila after the ASEAN. They discussed topics of mutual interest and even without any formal alliance or agenda formed, they expected to meet again. But, one thing was sure the very point of this grouping was the scary rise of CHINA and curiously China too seemed very disturbed with the mere idea. Right then it asked each of the 4 countries about their objectives regarding the meet, but every party said then that they are just discussing development with mutual interest. Fearing China’s negative reaction the idea never progressed and that was the end of QUAD 1.0.

Also, Kevin Rudd came into the office as the Australian prime minister, who turned out to be a China supporter which further drowned the idea as the Sino-Australian trade was growing at a healthy level back then. But in 2012, with the return of SHINZO ABE as the Japanese prime minister the very idea re-emerged having the aim of a free and open Indo-Pacific. India was initially a bit hesitant to join in, as it was fearing a retaliation from China, plus India was and is already in a trilateral cooperation with Tokyo, Washington and Tokyo, Canberra. Anyways, the QUAD 2.0 was revived in September last year and the meeting took place on 12th March through a virtual summit where the leaders gave clear objectives.

The Objectives of the QUAD Meeting

  • Counter Balancing China : The main aim of these 4 countries coming together is supposedly been to counter balance the rise of China in the Indo-Pacific region especially in the South China Sea. The US Joint Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that it will serve very important role in ensuring that ‘China retains only its proper place in the world’. He also said that it is more critical than ever to come together to safeguard our people and partners from the ‘exploitation, corruption and coercion of the Chinese Communist Party’.
  • Defence Co-operation : It should not be taken as a surprise that defence co-operation too is a major factor between the four nations. Increasing defence related ties and exercises is another aim of the summit. India has already done naval and air exercises with Japan and Australia recently and also its exercises with US has steadily increased over the years. So now under QUAD, it would again be a great experience for us from the defence point of view.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine : The QUAD will not only facilitate sufficient vaccine availability in each of the four countries but it is also planning investment in INDIA for creating a vaccine hub. Since India is miles ahead of other countries in vaccine diplomacy, this is a great opportunity to nurture the area. Again, China will find it very disgraceful and hurting as its vaccines are being rejected by the world because of poor efficacy and complexity.

The Role of INDIA

Well … it is beyond doubt that INDIA today is one of the leading … or perhaps the leading power in the world. Whether it was the COVID-19 Pandemic or the China border stand off at Ladakh, India handled both very smartly, much better than others. Even in the vaccine race, India seems well ahead of its counterparts, not only the Indian vaccines are having the highest efficacy in the world but India is well ahead in donating it to the most needy. Also, India is very well developing its defence capabilities and it was this reason that USA named India as well a member in the US-Afghan talks. Now, with this QUAD it’s further affirmed that USA sees India as a major defence partner. India having a crucial presence as well as influence in the Indo-Pacific region makes India a formidable option for the job Geopolitically as well.

March 05, 2021 Australian PM: Quad Leaders' Summit on the Cards

The Threats and Concern

There are a few concerns as pointed out by experts. Firstly, Australia has deep trade ties with China, so experts fear that it can turn its way back anytime just like it did earlier. Also, Japan’s new prime minister Yoshihide Suga has also said that they are working to sweeten their relationship with China and their trade ties are of the most strategic importance. So, if these two countries part out ways or just do not agree to go deep because of fear of China, then the whole idea of QUAD might not be as effective as it seems now.

Secondly, We should remember ousted ex-president of US Donald Trump had announced sanctions on India for purchasing the S-400 missiles from Russia. Moreover, from the past few US and Russia have been acting as rivals and the recent attacks on each other by US President Biden and Russian President Putin has further aggravated the fire. But, at the same time the new US Government has shown immense trust and belief in its relations with India. So, it will be very interesting to see how things fare up here and whether the sanctions are actually imposed or not.


So … at the end we see that on one hand QUAD holds immense opportunities to stand up as a force against China and COVID-19 (both may seem same though). If our defence ties and Vaccine diplomacy develop as per being planned, then the results will be really fruitful for all the four members. But, on the other hand we also see there are a few areas of concern as well considering how much is the tensile strength of Japan and Australia, how will some controversial Indo-US matters fare out and most importantly we also have to make sure that we don’t end up worsening our relations with China way too much. What if, tomorrow QUAD doesn’t continue because of some reasons, on such days we can’t have just enemies all over the park. So, I would like to call it a wrap here with the hope that this QUAD turns out a big success and at the same time we don’t regenerate the tensions with our dear neighbors.



References :

  1. What’s the point of the Quad? By John Dobson , Oct 10, 2020
  2. The real significance of the Quad By Dhruva Jaishankar , Oct 24, 2018

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