Discuss the significance of the QUAD grouping, especially for India. Is it’s relevance mere tokenism? (15 Marks)

Mentors Comments:

  • 1. What is QUAD?
  • 2. Why was it formed? Examine its goals.
  • 3. What are the limitations in taking it to the next level?
  • 4. What should be done to make the grouping relevant to this century?

Answer:

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) is the strategic dialogue between the four countries viz. India, United States, Japan, and Australia. It has been recently revived and is being viewed as a response to increased Chinese economic and military power.

Significance for India:

  • India has taken a significant turn in its policy for the subcontinent by joining quad grouping.
  • It provides New Delhi a powerful platform to advance its interests in East Asia.
  • It will deepen India’s ties with the US, Australia, and Japan with benefits in diplomatic leverage and sharing of burden in defense.
  • It will also provide India a significant chance in shaping US policies in Afghanistan-Pakistan to the benefit of India.
  • It will provide a powerful platform to advance Indian interest in the region and strengthen the Act East policy.
  • Foster economic growth with better market adaptation, so it will lead to more employment opportunities in India.
  • It helps India and the other three nations to counter China’s OBOR. As India is refused to join OBOR it helps India to connect with other markets like Central Asian and Southeast Asian markets.

Negative impact of quad for India: The initiative has some negative implications like:

  • It further hampers the bilateral relations between India and China.
  • It went against the Non-Alignment movement which is India’s initiative
  • Quad may affect India-Russia relations and gave further impetus to improve China-Russia relations, which will impact India.
  • While the quadrilateral grouping will bring developmental projects, it will considerably erode India’s primacy in the neighborhood region.
  • While India has impeded the Chinese desire to have a diplomatic mission in Bhutan, it would be a challenge if the US pursues the same.
  • Similarly, India also runs the risk of seeding ground to Japanese & US Navies in Sri Lanka.

Way ahead

  • The challenge before the quad grouping lies in finding areas of mutual interest.
  • All the member nations should work with cooperation.
  • Financial institutions like World Bank and Asian Development Bank must focus on infrastructure funding in the region. It will help in counter China’s large scale infrastructure building in countries of Southeast Asia to Africa under the Belt and Road Initiatives to economic growth.
  • India and Japan are already in discussions for the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor which is the step in the right direction.
  • Owing to India’s presence and impact in South Asia the neighborhood first policy should not take a backseat.
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