Written by Vedika Pathania, a second-year student.
The QUAD, which is short for The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is a meeting and talks that are held between four nations – the United States, India, Japan, and Australia.
This time, the Quad’s four leaders—the US, Australia, India, and Japan—met in person for the first time. The collective pledged to collaborate on a variety of issues, which include COVID-19 vaccines, global warming, and Indo-Pacific security, which was reaffirmed at their September meeting at the White House. The difficult task of carrying out the plan now begins.
Here’s all you need to know about the Quad
How was it formed?
Following the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, India, Japan, Australia, and the United States formed an informal alliance to help with disaster relief operations. Shinzo Abe, Japan’s then-Prime Minister, formalised the partnership in 2007 as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad. The Quad was meant to create an Asian Arc of Democracy, but it was impeded by a lack of coherence among its members and suspicions that it was just an anti-China alliance.
The Quad’s first version, which was primarily focused on marine security, gradually faded away. Faced with the resurgence of China’s threat, the four nations resurrected the Quad in 2017, expanding its goals and establishing a framework to gradually build a rules-based international order.
How is it different from other alliances?
The Quad is not constituted like a traditional international organisation, with no fixed decision-making body or secretariat. Rather than establishing policies along with the principles of the European Union or the United Nations, the Quad has concentrated on extending existing agreements among member nations and emphasising common values. Furthermore, unlike NATO, the Quad does not have collective defence measures, instead it is opting for joint military exercises as a display of solidarity and diplomatic cohesiveness.
What are the objectives of the Quad?
The Quad leaders met digitally in March 2021 and subsequently issued a unified declaration titled “The Spirit of the Quad,” which described the group’s strategy and goals. Maritime security, tackling the Covid-19 problem, especially in terms of vaccine diplomacy, confronting the dangers of climate change, establishing an ecosystem for investment in the area, and increasing technological innovation are among the group’s major aims, according to the Spirit of the Quad.
Members of the Quad have also expressed interest in expanding the cooperation by forming a so-called Quad Plus, which would include South Korea, New Zealand, and Vietnam, among others.
The Quad and China
Despite the Quad’s apparent commitment to a wide range of issues, the threat posed by China remains its rationale. Each of the Quad’s member states has its own reasons to be concerned about China’s rise, and limiting Beijing’s regional advances is in everyone’s best interests. China was initially opposed to the establishment of the Quad, and its stance has not altered in the 13 years afterward. Despite the fact that the Quad is often viewed as anti-China, the joint statement makes no direct mention of China or military security.
The Quad’s action to form task forces on vaccine research and critical technologies can thus be interpreted as an attempt to regulate China, but more notably, to establish a democratic, inclusionary blueprint that will encourage other countries to collaborate with the Quad.
What happened at this year’s summit?
At their first in-person summit, the leaders of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia pledged to work together for a free and open Indo-Pacific area, despite common worries about China. The Quad group of countries has decided to press on with a coordinated effort to distribute Covid-19 vaccines throughout Asia. They also announced a climate effort, promising to “decarbonize at a rapid rate” and “achieve climate targets.” The four leaders also reiterated their commitment to a free and open international order based on international law.
The leaders promised “to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the East and South China Seas” after the meeting.
According to reports, President Biden’s latest attempt to consolidate US leadership in Asia, in the face of rising Chinese economic, political, and military power, was the summit.
What is next for the Quad?
The leaders’ goals were on display during this year’s meeting. Regular leaders’ summits will be required to keep the momentum and concentration going. It will require time and effort to complete Quad’s goal and to institutionalise these venues. Future leaders of the United States, Australia, India, and Japan—all of which are democracies with regular elections—will also need to value the Quad. The Quad will need to show results while the present four leaders remain in power if it is to maintain its momentum. Fumio Kishida, a new Japanese prime minister who takes office next week, will be the first new face at the next Quad meeting.
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