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Quad quadrangular group (Four corners: on the quad’s agenda)

Context

Recently the officials of ‘Quad Group’ of India, Australia, Japan and America met in Singapore. The quad is recognized as the four democracies with a shared purpose to ensure and support the ‘independent, open and prosperous’ Indo-Pacific region. During this time, this group of four countries is expected to discuss the infrastructure projects on which they are working and the humanitarian are creating disaster response mechanisms.

Major potential dimensions of the negotiation

  • In the last few months, India and Japan have announced that they will put together many projects in South Asia, including reconstruction projects in bridges and roads in Bangladesh, an LNG facility in Sri Lanka and Rakhine province of Myanmar.
  • Australia has unveiled an ambitious $ 2 billion project to fund basic infrastructure and build a sea and military infrastructure in the Pacific region, on which it is ready to cooperate with other quad members.
  • These four countries are expected to talk about regional development, including elections in Maldives, port of government in Sri Lanka and latest developments in North Korea.
  • Quad negotiations are being organized among these groups during the East Asia Summit, the discussions will include some similar issues in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Summit and the ASEAN-India informal summit.

Potential benefits of QUAD  

  • The situation is that in the past some time, the mutual understanding among these four countries has increased over regional security.
  • This partnership, which is aimed at curbing aggressive policies of China, is in the very early stages and there is no maturity in it.
  • It is believed that this partnership of four countries to land on the ground can have a profound impact on the global power equation. These four countries can contribute to each other’s interests as well as contribute to mutual prosperity.
  • China’s expansionist policy influences all four, so it is time to unite them. India had raised the issue of affecting its security with China’s BRI project.
  • Although China may say that its project can benefit all the regions of India including India, but China’s intentions are now only seen in the world with suspicion.
  • In such a scenario, it is necessary to take shape of a project that will ensure easy access to oil and gas reserves of Central Asia and Eastern Europe markets.
  • For this, there are two pathways currently seen – one by Pakistan and the other by Iran.
  • The path of Pakistan is in the possession of China and the relationship between Iran and its pathway worsening with the US is concerned. America-Australia-Japan-India’s quaternary alliance speaks of Indian-Pacific conception in place of preceding Asia-Pacific conception, and it has been envisaged for the purpose of strengthening it.

Inherent issues

  • Despite the possibility of cooperation, a mechanism has remained without a quad-defined strategic mission.
  • In 2007, when this group was formed for the first time as a concept. Then its idea was to better coordinate marine capabilities for disaster situations.
  • Upon reviving the group in 2017, its aim was to counter China’s growing influence in this area. Even a general definition of any geographic area was not included in it.
  • Although the focus of this group is centered on the Indo-Pacific region, this quad group appears to be more focused on sea issues, so raises the question whether the cooperation group extends to Asia-Pacific and Eurasian areas.
  • In addition, there is a lack of consent on marine practices, while Washington sees America and India as the ‘bookend’ or ‘shelf’ of Indo-Pacific, India and Japan have covered Africa in its definition of the oceans.
  • India, despite Australia’s requests, did not include Australia in the Malabar exercise with the US and Japan, and an official has also opposed the level of negotiation at the political level.
  • The results of the third round in Singapore will be assessed with the ability to issue the joint declaration of this group, which had removed it in the first and second rounds.

Further the way

  • India needs to recognize the significance of SAARC to maintain peace in historical relations with its neighboring countries.
  • If India’s relations with neighbors are better, then the policy of China’s aggressive regional investment can be balanced.
  • Apart from this, bilateral relations should be encouraged and for this, both countries should take ‘friendship and cooperation treaty’ and the free trade agreement – FTA seriously.
  • FTA may be beneficial for India but with some conditions. Between India and China, FTA can harm India, because China is in a better position in terms of duty rates along with manufacturing sector.
  • Due to the high tariff rate in India, the existing trade imbalance between the two countries can increase due to the FTA. Therefore, while restoring the FTA with China, India should take care of these things.
  • At the same time, both countries have a common interest in preventing religious fundamentalism and terrorism. Therefore, mutual interests should be clarified through strategic dialogue.
  • Instead of fighting on historical issues, both countries should emphasize that they resolve the current issues. Be better
  • Apart from this, India’s sovereignty concerns about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being built under the ‘One Belt One Road’ of China.
  • However, it is also important to see if ‘One Belt One Road’ is beneficial for India in any form? Significantly, the situation of land transportation in South Asia is extremely pathetic. ‘One Belt One Road’ can be an integral role in the development of connectivity between Tibet and India.

Conclusion

A quadrangular alliance of ‘India, Australia, America and Japan’ is going to be replaced with the aim of transforming the ‘Asia-Pacific Concept’ to the ‘Hind-Pacific Concept’. This quadrangular alliance will prove to be crucial in keeping ‘free’ between China’s increasing military presence in this strategic region. The emergence of China is a reality, which has to deal with India. But diplomacy is an art that relies on the right balance, and India has to make that balance.
Updated: January 3, 2019 — 5:58 am

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