QUAD refers to the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, which comprises four democracies: India, Australia, the United States of America, and Japan. Former Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, initiated the group in 2007, intending to resolve economic, security and health concerns amid China’s rising political and military influence.
The QUAD ceased its operations after Australia’s walk-out in 2008 when Kevin Rudd was the Prime Minister. As per the Observers, the move showcased the shift in its policy for close relations with China.
Under the Trump administration, it was revived in 2017. It was decided to move ahead with peace, stability and prosperity when all officials from the four countries met in Manila on November 12.
The other purpose behind the formation of the strategic alliance was to assist in maintaining freedom and prosperity” in the Asia-Pacific region. The Quad does not consist of facilities for collective defence, rather than picking to prefer joint military exercises as a symbol of unity and diplomatic cohesion, unlike NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation)
On QUAD becoming an “Asian NATO”, the Foreign affairs minister S. Jaishankar said, “The idea that when we come together and there is some sort of a threat or messaging to others, I think people need to get over this… This kind of using words like ‘Asian NATO’ etc is a mind-game which people are playing.”
The countries come together and practice “Exercise Malabar” which is an annual military drill. Notably, four countries attended in 2007 and 2020 only, whereas only India, US, and Japan participated between 2014 and 2019.
While speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi specified India views the Indo-Pacific as a “geographical concept”, not a “strategy or a club of limited members”.
The first-ever virtual meet took place on March 12. Leaders such as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Joe Biden of the United States, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison were present. They conversed on regional and global issues of common interest, including “practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region” besides measures to tackle COVID-19.
According to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, India considers the Quad as a “good mechanism” to “ensure Freedom of Navigation Operations” (FONOPs) in the Indian Ocean and adjoining oceans, comprising the Indo-Pacific. India is the only country in the Quad that shares a land boundary with China.
The birth, fall and rebirth of the Quad now look towards challenging China’s might and its relations with all countries of the Quad. Meanwhile, PM Modi would address the UN General Assembly on September 25 as the Biden administration hosts the first in-person QUAD summit.
“Hosting the leaders of the Quad demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s priority of engaging in the Indo-Pacific, including through new multilateral configurations to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” News agency Reuters quoted White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.