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Quad countries to focus on maritime security

Topics covered:

  1. India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

Quad countries to focus on maritime security

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Members of the Quad grouping, countries in the Indian ocean region, Chinese military bases.

For Mains: The Quad grouping- features, significance, concerns and potential.

 

Context: The fourth edition of the Quadrilateral meet among India, Japan, Australia and the United States, after it was revived in November 2017, was held recently at Bangkok, Thailand.

 

Outcomes of the meeting:

  • India, Australia, Japan and the US have backed Asean-led mechanisms in efforts to create a rule-based regional architecture for the Indo-Pacific, where China is seeking to exert its influence.
  • They held consultations on collective efforts to “advance a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific”. 
  • The meet also referred to efforts to “maintain universal respect for international law and freedom of navigation and overflight”.

 

The Quad:

  • Regional coalition known as the ‘Quad’, the quadrilateral formation includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.
  • All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.
  • The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it.

 

Significance Quad- grouping for the US:

  • The US believes the Quad, as one of the elements of its larger Indo-Pacific strategy for “a free, open and rules-based order” in face of an aggressive and expansionist China in the region, should eventually evolve into a ministerial-level dialogue imbued with a strong military dimension.
  • But Washington also recognizes that New Delhi for now remains opposed to any militarization of the Quad, which was revived after a decade as a joint secretary-level dialogue in November 2017, with its second meeting being held in June this year. India has also made it clear that the US should not “conflate” the Indo-Pacific with the Quad, stressing the centrality of Asean in the former.

 

Significance:

Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest. All four countries share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific. Each is involved in development and economic projects as well as in promoting maritime domain awareness and maritime security.

The Quad grouping is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US and should not be seen in an exclusive context. Quad should not be seen in any comparative or in an exclusive context.

 

Mains Question: DESCRIBE INDIA’S CORE FOREIGN POLICY GOALS AND ORIGIN OF QUAD. HOW IS QUAD A REFLECTION OF MULTI-POLAR FOREIGN POLICY.