Quad is not a military alliance, but will challenge China’s reach in the Indo-Pacific

The first face-to-face summit meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue sparked much discussion around the world.

At the invitation of US President Joe Biden, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Yoshihide Suga of Japan and Australian Scott Morrison all met at the White House on Friday to take stock of this recently revived group, primarily intended to curb China’s unhindered growth in Asia. .

Although none of the four members of the Quad ever mentions China and often refers to a free and open Indo-Pacific, peaceful dispute resolution, democratic values ​​and territorial integrity without a doubt to subdue the Communist dragon again. in addition asserted.

There was a lot of heartburn among the chapters in India when Australia, the UK and the US (AUKUS) announced a trilateral defense deal on September 15.

Critics said the move by the three English-speaking countries rendered the quad superfluous, a symbolic gathering of democracies with little effective role.

But the Modi government had no such doubts and as AUKUS suits the wider strategic interests of New Delhi. India does not want to be part of any defense pact that could limit its choices in the future.

Foreign Minister Subramanyam Jaishankar has often stated that India will not confine itself to a single bloc and work with various countries with which it may have common views on some issues but differ on others.

India will cooperate with the US, Russia or Iran and the EU, but may not find common ground on all issues.

This is what Quad is all about:
1. Quad is not a military or defense group like AUKUS but has an equally important role.

2. Accelerate the manufacture and supply of the Covid-19 vaccine in low- and middle-income countries.

3. Combat China’s Belt and Road Initiative on building infrastructure with a more viable and transparent alternative.

4. Establish secure supply chains, so that the world is not disturbed by China. Right now, manufacturers are looking to China for essential components. This dependence must gradually be minimized.

5. Develop clean and green technologies to fight against climate change.

6. India is happy not to be part of any military alliance and has no problem with AUKUS.

As a defense, India may be compelled to join the war efforts on the side to which it has subscribed. This decision will allow India to retain its strategic autonomy, although this particular phrase is anathema to the current regime. However, for all intents and purposes, not being part of a military alliance gives India leeway.

The tripartite agreement will help Australia obtain nuclear submarine technology from the United States and the United Kingdom. The Australian Navy will add eight new nuclear submarines to its fleet and play a central role in controlling China in Indo-Pacific waters.

Heartburn in India is also due to the fact that New Delhi has long asked the United States for nuclear submarine technology, but so far, despite signing the foundation’s defense agreements with the United States- United, there has been no progress regarding the transfer of sensitive high temperatures. -Technology. Washington only shared nuclear submarine technology with the United Kingdom, with which it has privileged relations, and now with Australia.

Concerned about China’s attempt to overtake the United States as the world’s leading power, Washington which, since Nixon’s revolutionary visit to Beijing in 1972, has helped China’s economic growth, with American companies there settling, is now poised to thwart Beijing’s movements not just militarily, but by providing infrastructure development alternatives and transparent economic arrangements to Indo-peaceful nations.

This is where Joe Biden wants the Quad to play an important role. Although all four of the Quad members participated in the Malabar naval exercises, this is not a defense agreement. Its scope is much wider. It is about putting down the growing profile of China as a nation providing humanitarian aid to the nations of Asia and the Pacific. The Quad wants to challenge China’s soft power supply in the region. This is why there is so much emphasis on providing vaccines to countries in the region.

India got off to a good start with vaccine diplomacy and competed with China to deliver doses to the world. India sent its first batch to its neighbors. But the deadly second wave upended plans as the government tackled the home health crisis. China has supplied vaccines throughout the Indo-Pacific. India is now preparing to restart vaccine exports.

The response to COVID was an important part of the Quad Summit. “We launched the Quad Vaccine Experts Group, made up of top experts from our respective governments … to support Indo-Pacific health security and the COVID-19 response. … aligned our efforts to combat it, strengthened shared diplomatic principles to mitigate COVID-19 in the region, and actively improved the coordination of our efforts to support safe, efficient and quality-assured vaccine production and equitable access, in close collaboration with multilateral efforts, including the COVAX facility, ” said the joint statement issued at the end of the meeting.

In addition, Australia, India, Japan and the United States have pledged more than 1.2 billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. And to date, the Quad had delivered nearly 79 million doses to the countries of the Indo-Pacific. Indian company Biological E Ltd is funded by quad partners to increase its manufacturing capacity. Quad will coordinate with the UN’s COVAX facility to ship vaccines to low- and middle-income countries in the region.

Climate change and building secure, clean energy supply chains is another priority for the quad. The group is committed to building quality infrastructure and since 2015, quad partners have provided $ 48 billion to finance projects in the region.

The group has established cooperation on critical and emerging technologies, to ensure that the way technology is designed, developed, governed and used is shaped by our common values ​​and respect for universal human rights. Also in partnership with the private sector, the Quad “will advance open and transparent 5G networks and beyond 5G, and will work with a range of partners to foster innovation and promote trustworthy suppliers …” , adds the press release. Simply put, the Quad will strive to challenge dominance on these issues. 5G networks developed by Chinese companies like Huawei will face stiff competition.

Quad remains a work in progress. Still, one thing is clear, this is not an exclusive club and wants to work with a range of partners, always keeping in mind the centrality of ASEAN.

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