Don’t push Quad too fast, Australia backs India

The News

  • Australia has cautioned against going fast on the Quad consultations involving India, Japan and the US apart from Australia.

 

Background

  • Quad as a strategic dialogue was first initiated by The Prime Minister of Japan in 2007, which included India, Japan, U.S and Australia. However, it could not take a further move because of China’s objection.
  • Later in 2017, in a significant move India, the US, Japan and Australia revived their quadrilateral grouping on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit.
  • So far Quad discussions have remained limited to diplomatic consultations among the participating countries.
  • The U.S is pressing for upgrading the quad meetings from the official level to the ministerial level.
  • Per contra, India is not in favour of upgrading Quad, or having regular quadrilateral military exchanges between member countries.
  • India is unwilling to upgrade quad consultations, as it fears of annoying China which sees Quad as an instrument of containment.
  • Moreover, due to the same reason, India has been reluctant to involve Australia in the trilateral Malabar exercise, which India carries out with the US and Japan.
  • All this is because India has worked to improve relations with China since Wuhan summit and it wants to continue on the same.
  • So far India’s position on relations with China has not been changed, even after China repeatedly blocking designation of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.
  • Now, Australia with its recent message has backed India’s stand on Quad.

 

Highlights of the news

  • Australia warned that pushing the Quad “too forward and too fast’’ could diminish returns from bilateral and multilateral engagements among the member countries of the quad.
  • Australia put forward that we need to give time and space to Quad for it to evolve.
  • Australia also clarified that India’s reluctance to involve Australia in the trilateral Malabar exercise will not impact its security and maritime cooperation with India.
  • Australia focused its attention on bilaterally engagements with India, as both the countries are already participating in bilateral and multilateral exercises.
  • It highlighted the AUSINDEX 2019, which will see the largest deployment of Australian navy personnel in the region since India’s independence.
  • The position of Australia on Quad supports India’s stand on Quad mechanism that it should be held at the level of officials only and not upgrading it to the ministerial level.

 

About Quad grouping

  • It is the grouping of 4 countries the USA, India, Japan and Australia.
  • It took birth after 2004 Tsunami and as a strategic dialogue it was first initiated by Prime Minister of Japan in 2007 but was stalled due to China’s objection and later it was renewed in 2017.
  • The shared objective of the Quad group is the areas of connectivity and development, regional security, including counter-terrorism and non-proliferation, high availability disaster recovery (HADR) and maritime cooperation.
  • The ‘quad’ has endorsed a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region that isn’t monopolized by a single country.

 

Advantages of Quad group to India

  • Act East Policy: It provides India with a platform for the promotion of India’s ‘Act East’ policy, which is the cornerstone of India’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Strengthening India’s position: India will be able to provide more help and assistance to East Asian countries by making efforts towards resolving issues like South China Sea dispute and North Korean issue, through the quad, this in turn will help India emerge as a regional leader and power.
  • Counter BRI: The renewedquadrilateral has a potential as a countervailing force to Beijing’s Belt and Road push.
  • Contain China: It will help India to allay the fear of China’s ‘string of pearls’ in India and to contain china.
  • Free and open Indo-pacific region: The vision of a peaceful maritime zone can ensure the economic gain through peaceful trade and a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

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