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What is Quad grouping?

Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

What is Quad grouping?


Context:

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun has said that eventually the Quad group of countries should become more formalised once the parameters of cooperation were understood.

Why there is a need for formalisation?

Despite renewed efforts, the QUAD has faced criticism over its lack of formal structure. There have been calls for institutionalisation, a formal agreement to transform the group into a formidable anti-China bloc.

A lot has changed over the years. Each member state has faced the heat of China’s increased aggression.

  1. China has grown in might and influence and is keen on picking up fights.
  2. After attempting to influence Australia’s domestic policies, it slapped punitive tariffs on the country.
  3. It is engaged in what has become a routine border confrontation with India.
  4. China has flared up territorial disputes with Japan with regards to the Senkaku Islands and is battling a fully-fledged trade war with the United States.

What has been India’s stand on this?

While India has been historically hesitant over explicitly defining its anti-China associations, the recent border confrontations at Ladakh give us enough cause to reassess the profits and pitfalls of such formalisation.

What is Quad grouping?

The quadrilateral security dialogue 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.

Genesis:

The grouping traces its genesis to 2004 when the four countries came together to coordinate relief operations in the aftermath of the tsunami.

  • It then met for the first time in 2007 on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.
  • The intention was to enhance maritime cooperation between the four nations.

Significance of the grouping:

  • Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.
  • Members 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.
  • It is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US and should not be seen in an exclusive context.

What are China’s views on the Quad?

There is a general understanding that the Quad would not take on a military dimension against any country. The strategic community in China, nevertheless, had branded it an emerging “Asian NATO”.

Notably, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s “Confluence of Two Seas” address to the Indian Parliament gave a fresh impetus to the Quad concept. This recognised the economic rise of India.

Conclusion:

QUAD is, through its intent, a label, a geostrategic vision and a foreign policy instrument for India to balance China via global networking. When a tipping point is reached, it provides scope for the forging of an alliance amongst the world’s most formidable militaries. Until then, the QUAD’s future as a platform for multilateral engagement is secure.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Quad- composition.
  2. When was it first proposed?
  3. Countries and important islands in the Indian Ocean region.
  4. Geographical overview of Indo-Pacific region.
  5. Important seas and straits in the region.

Mains Link:

A formal revival and re-invigoration of the Quad is called for to maintain peace and tranquillity and to ensure observance of the UN Law of the Seas. Examine.

Sources: the Hindu.