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A Diplomatic Arrangement?

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD, also known as the Quad) – an informal strategic dialogue between Australia, India, Japan and the US – has recently been held online. The primary goal of this alliance is to boost the defence sector. India had strengthened the foundation of this alliance by inviting Australia to join the Annual Malabar Naval Exercise, along with the host (India), Japan and the US, in 2020. During the recent Dialogue, the Quad decided to expand the field of co-operation between the four. In a joint statement, the Quartet stressed that their goal was to increase co-operation and boost strategic exchanges in the Indo-Pacific Region. In fact, the alliance made an attempt to explore long-term possibilities 14 years after its formation. It is, seemingly, the first step towards welfare in this particular Geopolitical Region. According to Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, Quad can be a pillar of stability in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

China has called the Quad Asian NATO, saying that it would be the pioneer of a new Cold War. However, such a view from Beijing was very much expected. Hence, it did not surprise the Global Community. The world’s second-largest Economic and Military Power is well aware of the fact that it has already become aggressive towards its Asian neighbours, prompting them to jointly counter its Hegemony in the Indo-Pacific Region and the IOR. The Quad’s attempt to maintain a Balance of Power in these two regions is, therefore, a cause of serious concern to the top political leadership in Beijing.

So far, China has not been in direct conflict with any of the Quad members. It is because the Chinese leadership is well aware of Beijing’s dividends from cordial bilateral ties. However, the way Australia, Japan and the US have condemned China’s aggression in East Ladakh (inside the Indian Territory), it is difficult to predict for how long Beijing would maintain silence. So far, everything has been positive for India. The positive steps by the Quad and the support of the Global Community over the border issue with neighbouring China are very important as far as the Indian Foreign Policy is concerned. The Quad was not born to counter China’s aggression. Incidentally, various geopolitical events have prompted the alliance to confront the Asian Giant. And, it has a special significance for India. So, New Delhi is eager to take care of this alliance. Militarism is in the air in the Indo-Pacific Region. However, it is important to keep the level of co-operation non-militaristic.

Earlier this week, foreign ministers of Australia, India, Japan and the US arrived in Tokyo to participate in the second Quad Security Dialogue. Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, along with his counterparts from Australia and the US, met Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga during their two-day visit, and spoke about the bilateral and global dimensions of the “special partnership”.

During the Quad talks, the ministers also discussed the post-COVID-19 international order and the need for a co-ordinated response to the various challenges emerging from the pandemic. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs has issued a statement, saying that they further discussed various regional issues and collectively affirmed the importance of maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

Meanwhile, there is a great concern, also. During the meeting, India informed other Quad members that the former would supply one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to various countries in the Indo-Pacific Region. The Modi Administration claimed that it would do so by effectively utilising India’s manufacturing capacity. Meanwhile, experts have expressed doubt over India’s announcement, saying that it might not be possible for the South Asian Nation to take such an additional burden while keeping the domestic supply intact! They have also advised India not to join the Global Race over COVID-19 vaccine.

As China has started rapidly exporting vaccines to Africa and West Asia, India – seemingly – has decided to follow suit. New Delhi has argued that Foreign Investment would certainly increase Employment Opportunities in India. However, it is important to consider how real, and how politically motivated India’s ability is to compete with China at the moment. The urge of Politics in Diplomacy is not a healthy sign. The Government of India should not use the Quad’s anti-China stand for its own political interests, as it would not help the citizens of the country.

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