What could be expected of the QUAD Summit?
uadrilateral Security Dialogue, QUAD founded by four democratic nations USA, India, Japan and Australia, is in the news again. The much hyped virtual summit of the four heads of the States took place for the first time on 12 March 2021. The talk of the proposed summit of the group itself generated plenty of heat…so much so that even before the meeting, China, Russia, Iran accompanied by some others reached the UN complaining against it. They also had their puppet friends in Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, Cuba, Eritrea, Laos, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Syria and Venezuela. All these nations are either fried, debt-holder or the puppets of China or Russia. There is hardly any doubt that Chinese expansionist agenda and growing hegemony in the region is facing the heat of the QUAD group formally taking some shape. Of late, China has been wary of this new group ever since 2017 when the Malabar Exercise took place. Last year in 2019, the foreign ministers of the Quad met in Tokyo amidst the Chinese created heat & dust in the South China Sea. Thereafter, an elaborates show of strength followed…the joint exercise of the QUAD in the international waters of the South China Sea…and these combat drills did not end there. It extended to the Malacca Strait…the Malabar Exercise in the Indian Ocean and continued till the Arabian Sea. The message was loud and clear…” The Chinese hegemony in the Indo-Pacific will not be tolerated”.
On 12 March 21, many onlookers were expecting some sort of formal announcement by the QUAD to formalise the birth of a Marine “Security Alliance” but it stopped short of announcing the foundation. The experts in international matters and Defence Strategy had very clear understanding of what could be expected in the first summit. It was the first summit for US Prez Joe Biden and he very much towed on his predicted line…’No decision in haste’. It was no secret that the type of diplomatic movements of the policy makers that are required before signing a formidable multilateral Security Alliance with all nitty-gritty already worked out, had not taken place before the summit. Hence, the formal signing of Quad constitution was not expected. However, it was noteworthy and glaring that all leaders talked of a safe & secured Indo-Pacific…among some other issues too…the pandemic induced devastations.
The QUAD is in no dilemma about the Chinese hegemony in the region. Japanese are facing the annexation of their Senkaku island. Indian military is facing the worst standoff in the eastern Ladakh and minor pin-pricks all along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with the Chinese. Australia has faced the wrath of the Chinese economic terrorism when spoke openly about the Wuhan Virus and even USA military lines were under threat of breach by the PLA Navy near their Guam Island. Hence, the New US President has clearly gone with Pentagon advise…’Tame the Dragon’. There is hardly any doubt that the growing proximities of the QUAD nations is essentially to form a Security Alliance for the freedom of navigation in the marine waters of the Indo-Pacific. Biden minced no words in saying, "The QUAD is going to be a vital arena of cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and I look forward to working closely with all of you in the coming years." Same were the expressions of others three heads of States too. PM Modi was absolutely clear on safety and security role of the QUAD when he said, “We will work together, closer than ever before, for advancing our shared values and promoting a secure, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
Let no one have any doubt whatsoever as to what is the ‘Quad’ all about…and the Chinese know it better. Their reaction showed-up in their words in their briefing to their media. Let the Chinese cry…yell…fume…or hang themselves…but the determination of the QUAD is firm…’No Chinese hegemony at least in the Indo-Pacific’. Of course, there are works to be done by the diplomats, bureaucrats, the Defence & Security agencies of the four nations to formulate the further course of actions which undoubtedly is imminent. They will have to work all the details of the proposed alliance and cooperation. France, Germany and Netherland too have shown their keenness for joining the group. At the moment however, it is likely to be a group of only four but the sentiments of the nations in neighbourhood, who are being threatened by China will surely be looked in future. At least the five nations including Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan may be offered membership status. They are the immediate victims of the Chinese self-drawn “9 dashed lines” in the South China Sea, harming others’ national interests in the international waters of the South China Sea. Taiwan is being threatened of invasion by the Chinese PLA every now and then. Surely Indonesia too will have their stakes. Besides, PLA is threatening the international waters of the SCS by deploying its forces in the Parcel and Spartly islands. This cannot be acceptable for the world community under the UNCLOS. Hence, the joint efforts of the QUAD will undoubtedly make it a formidable security alliance with France and Germany joining later.
All four founding members of the Quad group know that as on today, the PLA Navy is a substantial threat…at least in numbers. Quality-wise they lag far behind in the technological might of the USA. However, for the latter it will not be wise to take on the dragon alone. Hence, USA is unlikely to back out this time…unlike 2007.
No sooner, the summit meeting was over, the Chinese issued their ever known threats…of India towing wrong lines, will impact relations at BRICS, SCO and so on. They also tried to remind India that it was committed to the Non-Aligned Movement and they also spoke many other nonsenses. China itself has forgotten that in the east-Ladakh standoff, it has asked Pakistan to jointly open a second front against India.
Many Indians are not happy with the silence of the ministry of External Affairs of India. It is strongly felt by majority of the experts in foreign affairs and Defence that MEA should have publicly advised China to mind their own business and desist from interfering in to the internal matters of India. What India wants to do with own foreign policy is its own internal matter and Chinese are no one to advise us. Chinese high Commissioner should have been summoned by Dr Jaishankar and cautioned to mind own business, desist from expansionist behaviours in the region and to take better care of the Human Rights Issues in the occupied Tibet, Xinjing as well as in Hongkong.