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Q 39- Discuss the potential benefits and concerns related with India's Quad participation. (250 words)
- Paper & Topic: GS II à Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
- The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a system that allows four key democracies in the Indo-Pacific area, Australia, Japan, India, and the United States, to talk about regional security challenges, has been revived in the last year.
- The rebirth of "the Quad," as it is more commonly known, indicates a significant change in the Indo-Pacific, and reflects a convergence of strategic interests among four major democracies in the region.
- The Quad began as a cooperative response to the 2004 tsunami's damage, with the navies of India, Australia, Japan, and the United States working together to give humanitarian and disaster aid.
- In 2007, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a proponent of the Indo-Pacific from the start, took measures to formalise the grouping with a maiden summit and cooperative naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal.
- The Quad is founded on a complex and overlapping network of bilateral and trilateral alliances and partnerships between the four nations, underpinned by ideals of openness, freedom of movement, and respect for the rules-based international order.
- Its rebirth, albeit at the level of officials only, provides a constructive platform for embedding basic ideas into the narrative of the emerging regional order, while also fostering the trust and confidence necessary to sustain cooperative endeavours between the countries engaged and others.
- Sino-Indian tensions are likely to endure in the current context, given Chinese intransigence and our misinterpretation of their imperialist-expansionist intentions.
- If India does not want to lose ground physically or diplomatically, it must mobilise all aspects of its "comprehensive national strength," including maritime might, and build a strong bargaining stance.
- Aside from the land balance of forces favouring China, the Beijing-Islamabad Axis has yet to be activated.
- Keeping tensions in the Himalayan battlefield is therefore not only helpful militarily for China, but it also serves to keep India contained in a "South-Asian box."
- It's also time to look into expanding this group into a like-minded partnership.
- Other countries who have been hit hard by Chinese brawn may be eager to join a "Indo-Pacific accord" to protect peace and tranquilly and assure adherence to the UN Law of the Seas.
- Given Canberra's historical inconsistency and political flip-flops, news of Australia being re-invited to join in the Quad deserves a cautious welcome.
- Concerns that are related:
- Any attempt to formalise the Quad as a tangible representation of a free and open Indo-Pacific will almost certainly fail. Beyond its current consultative framework, the Quad's future is uncertain.
- Given the diverse set of interests at play across the dynamic region, key partners are more likely to favour loose coalitions based on dialogue and cooperation over more formalised formats.
- Because it is not currently on their agenda, the opportunity to discuss emerging regional issues such as piracy, maritime pollution, and disaster management through such a platform should be taken advantage of.
- Simultaneously, it is necessary to reassure ASEAN of its importance and role in the Indo-Pacific, including through established dialogue mechanisms such as the EAS. Quad will not be successful if this is not the case.
- Using such mechanisms to engage others, including China, in dialogue about the Indo-Pacific project will be critical to realising the long-term vision for a stable and inclusive region.
- While India will have to fight its own territorial conflicts with vigour, now is the time to seek external balancing. It's also time to look into expanding this group into a like-minded partnership.