Day 48 – Q 4.The quadrilateral posturing by India, the US, Japan and Australia in the Indo-Pacific is critical to counter the aggression of China in the region. Comment.
4. The quadrilateral posturing by India, the US, Japan and Australia in the Indo-Pacific is critical to counter the aggression of China in the region. Comment.
इंडो-पसिफ़िक क्षेत्र में भारत, अमेरिका, जापान और ऑस्ट्रेलिया में सहयोग चीन की आक्रामकता का मुकाबला करने के लिए महत्वपूर्ण है। टिप्पणी करें।
Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) is the strategic dialogue between four countries viz. India, United States, Japan and Australia. It was originally initiated in 2007 but later disbanded with withdrawal of Australia. It has been recently revived and is being viewed as response to increased Chinese economic and military power.
Role of QUAD in countering the aggression of China:
- Free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large.
- Sea lines of communications, Maritime security, and international order based on law and rules has a common interest of India, USA, Japan and Australia in the Indo-pacific region. The idea is to bring likeminded to achieve common objective and enhancing synergy.
- Tackle common challenges of terrorism and proliferation.
- While the notion of alliance as known in cold war context is perhaps not valid, there is some kind of correspondence between India and US about what kind of international order they would like to see, particularly with respect to Respect for law, Customary norms.
- Japan has fostered and promoted infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific region. India and Sri Lanka have benefited from Japanese investments and hence there is prosperity building. But never Japan has tried to influence its equity in those infrastructure. So, the investments made by it were never considered as a leverage to gain over the sovereignty of the country or area.
- Malabar exercise conducted during doklam standoff which shows Japan’s reflection of distinctive type of maritime empathy.
A diamond to counter pearls:
- The Chinese are talking about the string of pearls. China is now in Myanmar, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Gwadar and Djibouti which completes the string of pearls.
- Now there is a ‘diamond’ which comprises of USA, Japan, Australia and India. These countries can be loosely called as concert of democracies. China is not among them.
- This is more of a partnership where there would be certain emphasis on connectivity after all India and japan are now connecting on Africa corridor. So beyond a traditional military alliance to a kind of flexi partnership which can be brought together if an exigency arises.
- Japan is conscious of presence of china in South China Sea and east Sea of Japan. Australia is concerned about certain specific Chinese initiatives specific Australia.
Focus on security :
- There is a paucity of security institutions in Asia. There is ASEAN and focus on economic aspect but Asia lacks a security aspect of multilateral institutions.
- In terms of security, there is always about reacting because if you pro-act in security, then you become unnecessarily assertive. So countries pro-act for peace, development and partnership. But for security, there is reaction. China has reacted in nine dash line but was proactive in South China Sea.
- China feels the present situation as situationally, positionally and intellectually a challenging moment. Yet, as right now US is withdrawing from cold war institutions and china would like to occupy top position.
- China has been expanding in South China Sea (and says it has its exclusive economic zone there) which has tremendous strategic importance. 1/3rd of the world’s shipping passes through it. It contains lucrative fisheries and huge oil and gas reserves are believed to present beneath its seabed. Patrols have to be done to counter China in this region which is trying to reach further to Indian Ocean region like Sri Lankan coast now.
- It will be good for India to have a forward presence in regions like Vietnamese coasts. US is also being expected to take a more aggressive stance against China in SCS.
- India has taken its own stand in recent past against Chinese aggression. In Doklam issue, it took security issues of land to a third nation Bhutan. It had first taken a stand against China’s OBOR project and also took up security issues in Indian Ocean.
Act of Balance:
- All the countries of the Quadrilateral have major interests in China economically (being their major trade partner) and yet have major security concerns about China. So, there is a need to keep a balance between controlling Chinese rising aggression and, keeping trade relations with China in parallel diplomatically.
India should be independent
- India and USA cannot have convergence as it can be only militarily possible. India has its own relation with Iran and North Korea. Yes, they can be partners for security maintenance but cannot be military alliance. Till now exercises are going on and after a while, India and US can look forward to joint operations in naval engagement.
- India needs to have its own unique voice. India should safeguard its interest first and then forge partnerships. India has to go out and meet anyone which is going to help in nation building. India has to build its own strength. The security environment around India has never been conducive and threats to security have been persistent for half century. India should have the contradictory kind of tenure wherein when it comes to common issues, India can support and when it comes to sovereignty issues, India can defend.
Hence, India has to explain its foreign policy to its domestic audience as well as international audience saying that it has many layers when it comes to handling relations with japan, china, USA and Russia and what is India’s position when it comes to restructuring international institutions of governance like UN, UNCLOS. The foreign policy has to be multi-direction which will reflect India’s national interest first and not tow anyone’s line.