What is Quad ? Quad vs China

Recently, Prime Minister Modi went to America. And met US President Joe Biden in-person for the first time. During this tour, the first in-person meeting of the Quad Summit also took place. With the USA, Australia, Japan and India. This tour was quite historic for the Indian media as well. Because the humiliation that the Indian media has to face during this tour, is truly unprecedented. “Right now, we have Sneha Dubey with us, and I know that you wouldn’t like to talk on-record, No comments.

Quad

I said all I had to say, now, please…” “How excited are you for PM Modi’s visit? We were called here. So we are here as musicians.” “We were trying to gauge the coverage here. Whether Prime Minister’s tour has been covered here. I think their coverage is kind of different.” Anyhow, these things would continue. But what does ‘Quad’ mean? What does this Quad Summit mean in terms of geopolitics? come let’s try to understand. “First in-person Quad Summit in Washington DC.” “Politicians of the Quad countries discussed current issues.” “…in Afghanistan, the emerging challenges in South Asia and the Indo-Pacific…” “The manufacture and supply of Covid-19 vaccines.

Addressing the Climate Crisis. The urgency of Climate Action. And partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace cooperation. Among other aspects.” The word Quad comes from the word quadrilateral. You would’ve studied it in school, A quadrilateral is a four-sided figure like a square. Similarly, the Quad is a strategic dialogue, a geopolitical group, among four countries. India, Japan, Australia and the USA. And there is a really interesting story about why this group was formed. In December 2004, there was a terrible underwater earthquake in the Indian Ocean. This earthquake was measured at 9.1-9.3 on the scale. It is one of the deadliest earthquakes ever recorded.

Its epicentre was near Indonesia. And it created a terrible tsunami. This tsunami caused devastation in Tamil Nadu and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India. And the neighbouring countries such as Maldives, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, South-East Asian countries Indonesia, Thailand and even African countries Tanzania, Somalia, its effects were seen even in South Africa. If your age is similar to mine, Then you would’ve heard a lot about this on the news when you were younger. Around 2004. Because of this tsunami, millions of people were either killed, injured or went missing.

On December 29th, the then US President George Bush announced that India, US, Japan and Australia were setting up an international coalition together so that large scale rescue and rehabilitation efforts can be coordinated. The Indian Defence forces played a major role here. Thousands of Army troops, Navy ships and Airforce helicopters worked to find the missing people and helping the injured. Along with the help from the USA, Australia and Japan. Friends, the foundation of the Quad Group was laid here. But formally, this group was constituted 2 years later. In December 2006, our Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh went on an official visit to Japan.

Dr. Manmohan Singh was accompanied by his wife Mrs. Gursharan Kaur and a high-level delegation. A joint statement was issued by India and Japan that they were ready to start a dialogue with like-minded countries in the Indo-Pacific area. The Japanese Prime Minister at the time was Shinzo Abe. And Shinzo Abe was the one to voice this idea and encourage it. The Arc of Freedom and Prosperity. And as all of us know, friends, Freedom is something that is against China. It is anti-Chinese in itself. Because in China, the government is strictly against freedom.

Since the beginning, because the Quad Group was formed on the basis of Freedom and Prosperity, it was always seen as a counter against China’s growing influence by the geopolitical experts. Although, none of the four countries has openly admitted this yet. That they were forming a group against China. But it is believed that it is indeed formed to counter China’s growing influence. The first meeting of the Quad Group took place in May 2007, when the Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Vice President of the US Dick Cheney met in an informal meeting in the Philippines.

At the time, the ASEAN Regional Forum meetings were also underway. So they took out some time from that meeting to have the informal meeting. After that, in August 2007, Shinzo Abe had come to India, and he addressed the Indian Parliament and again he had talked of the Confluence of the Two Seas. The Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean were coming together forming a dynamic coupling of freedom and prosperity. Friends, the Quad Group is often looked at from a military perspective because one month later, in September 2007, the four Quad countries conducted a Navy exercise in the Indian Ocean together.

When it happened, China raised a diplomatic protest against the four countries. And after China’s protest, this Quad Group started to fail. The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe resigned from his post. Because he was struggling with a disease. So he resigned because of personal problems. In December 2007, Australia stepped back when Australia got a new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Kevin believed that the Quad Group did not suit the strategic interests of Australia, so he announced that Australia would not participate in Quad dialogues any longer. In this way, Quad Group 1.0 disintegrated.

Although later, in a 2019 article, Kevin Rudd had said that when he went to meet George Bush in 2008, George Bush had not shown an interest in the Quad Group. And many experts believed that the US had actually taken a step back from the Quad Group because then the USA wanted to gain China’s support. In the United Nations Security Council when they wanted to declare sanctions against Iran. And as I said, because China was against the Quad Group, the USA stepped back. But friends, then began Quad 2.0. In 2017, about 10 years later.

Quad resurfaced. In 2017, the US President was Donald Trump. Indian Prime Minister was Narendra Modi, And the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned to the post of the PM after 2012. The three leaders met in the Philippines again. When the ASEAN Summit was underway. The three leaders wore traditional Filipino shirts. An officer level Quad meet takes place but the three leaders were there for the ASEAN Summit. The US released a statement saying that the Quad is a cooperation of shared democratic values and principles.

And as we know, any talk of democracy means that you are going against China. That you are taking an Anti-China stance. So indirectly, this was again a step against China. But the official statement from India was that this group was not against any country. The Australian statement about the meaning of the Quad Group to them was freedom of navigation and overflight and maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region. Looking at the Quad 2.0 from a military perspective, they bring up the memories of 2007 when the four countries came together again in November 2020 to conduct joint Navy exercises.

Like the last time, China raised objections this time also saying that the Quad Group was a threat in the Indo-Pacific area. That the four countries using their military in the area wasn’t good. In September 2020, Shinzo Abe resigned from his post again due to his worsening health. And in March 2021, the first leader-level Quad meeting takes place. But obviously, because of the Coronavirus, the leaders of the countries couldn’t travel to each other’s country. So this meeting was conducted virtually with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, American President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

In this meeting, for the first time, instead of four different statements, the four countries issued a single statement for the Quad Summit. COVID19, Climate Change, Security challenges that this region is facing, these three things are said to be the new purpose of the Quad Group. It is said that these four countries, in the Indo-Pacific region, would try to establish democratic values, free open rule-based order, inclusiveness and health. Then we come to September 2021. When the first in-person Quad leader meet takes place. The leaders of the four countries could actually, physically meet.

China attacked the Quad Group constantly. Criticising it by saying that they are trying to form an Asian NATO. That the four countries are trying to form a military alliance. But India has always rejected these criticisms. As our Foreign Minister Jaishankar had said NATO is a term from the Cold War. It is obsolete. And the Quad looks at the future. That would reflect the era of Globalisation. The Quad Group will cooperate with each other on World Security, Climate Action, Technological cooperation, Supply chain and such issues. “Our Quad will greatly help the Indo-Pacific countries. Whether it is the supply chain or world security, climate action or COVID response, or cooperation in technology.

I would be glad to discuss these topics with my associates.” Interestingly friends, about 10 days before this meeting, another alliance was formed, it was named AUKUS. Australia, the UK and the USA. As per this initiative, Australia will build nuclear power submarines with help from the UK and the US. The French government was irate with this. Because they lost a major contract of building submarines with Australia. And they feel that the USA has backstabbed them. But it is very interesting to look at the AUKUS group and the Quad group in the same sense. Because many people are criticising leaving out India and Japan from this alliance.

This question was asked to the White House Press Secretary as well. Why wasn’t the USA including India and Japan in their cooperation with the UK and Australia? Their Press Secretary gave a joking reply saying what would they call AUKUS if India and Japan joined the alliance. JAUKUS? or JAIAUKUS? To leave out India from this group was perhaps not a big deal, But another alliance is being formed by America that could be quite problematic for India. The USA had announced another quadrilateral grouping last month. That Quad group is formed among the USA, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

The USA formed this new Quad group saying that this would form a diplomatic platform for the peace process in Afghanistan. And India was left out of it. Looking at this, it seems like instead of World Peace, the USA works more for World Tension. Selling nuclear submarines to Australia, selling weapons to India and Pakistan, it seems like all they want is that they keep getting buyers for their weapons. If India really wants to counter China’s influence, then the Quad Group will not be enough.

Where on one hand China has the Belt and Road Initiative that is quite major and significant. Wherein, many neighbouring countries like Maldives, Bangladesh, and even Sri Lanka are getting investments from China. There are talks of giving loans to Afghanistan. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is being built, China has replaced India as a major trading partner in many South Asian countries. So looking at all these, the Quad Group has to do much more and take strict actions if they truly want Quad to be a long-lasting solution to counter China’s growing influence. Or else, the Quad Group will remain a hollow directionless group, and may disintegrate later once again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.