role-of-quad-aukus-in-indo-pacific

CONTEXT

China has equated the India, U.S., Australia, Japan Quad grouping with the AUKUS (Australia, U.K., U.S.) defence pact, calling both exclusive cliques part of the Biden administration’s ill-intentioned Indo-Pacific strategy.

Importance of Indo Pacific region

  • Economic importance:The Indo Pacific maritime space is central to global commerce, carrying an estimated 65% of world trade and contributing 60% of global GDP.
  • Geopolitical significance: The region has been witnessing China’s growing belligerence which has brought together stakeholders with varying perceptions and priorities in the region.
  • Significance for India: India’s located at the heart of the Indian Ocean region and shares 3488 km land border with China and is presented with both opportunities and challenges that could be pivotal for geopolitical affairs in the region.

Concerns of China

  • China initially dismissed the Quad as “sea foam” that would fade away.
  • However, with growing closeness and widening scope that has seen the four countries begin to work together on a range of initiatives from vaccines to critical technology, Beijing has stepped up its criticism.
  • China believes that the so-called Quad group cobbled together by the U.S, Japan, India and Australia is essentially a tool for containing and besieging China to maintain U.S. hegemony.
  • The quad is also held by some experts as the Asian NATO formed against China’s is the region and China also held it as ‘Axis of democracies’ against Beijing’s interests

ROLE OF QUAD

  • The court was initiated in 2007 by Japan, US, India and Australia, however it re-emerged in 2017.
  • The 10 year period gap strengthened the coordination among the four members through various political, diplomatic and military agreements.
  • Chinese assertiveness:During this period these countries also experienced increasing wider Chinese expansionism and offensive posture in the Indo Pacific making them all restless. 
    • Therefore,these countries through Quad aimed at promotion of free, open rule based order in the region.
  • Free and open Indo Pacific: ‘The spirit of the Quad’ jointly declared that:
    • The Indo Pacific region is an inclusive, healthy anchored by democratic value and and constrained by coercion
    • Commit to promoting a free, open rule based order rooted in international law to advance security and prosperity, counter threats to both in the Indo Pacific and beyond
    • To extend acquired cooperation in areas of health, climate change, critical technologies, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief including maritime domain
  • Democratic security diamond: The former Japanese Prime Minister has called Quad a democratic security diamond.
    • In view of the dispute in East China Sea and South China Sea, Japan envisaged a strategy whereby the quad countries form a diamond to safeguard the maritime common stretching from the Indian Ocean region to the western Pacific.
  • Ministerial level dialogue: India’s ministerial level 2+2 (defence and foreign ministers) meetings with the US, Japan and Australia have added stability in the multilateral network among the Quad nations.
  • Major diplomatic initiatives: India in 2020 signed the basic exchange and cooperation agreement for geospatial cooperation with the US, included Australia in Malabar military exercise and signed a mutual logistics support arrangement with Japan.
    • India has reiterated in the ministerial meeting in 2020 that India is committed to upholding the rule based international order underpinned by the rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation in the international seas, respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty and peaceful resolution of disputes.
  • India,the natural leader in Indo Pacific :The Australian High Commissioner to India has said that India is clearly the natural leader in the region in terms of the vision the Quad signs up to in the Indo-Pacific region.
    • The multi-nation defence exercise, MILAN, held in Vishakapatnam demonstrates the cooperation across countries in the Indo-Pacific to secure a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

ROLE OF AUKUS

  • The announcement of a new trilateral defence partnership, AUKUS between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States has reaffirmed the importance of the Indo Pacific region in contemporary great power politics.
  • Modern-day deterrence: the transfer of closely-guarded technologies for artificial intelligence and the manufacture of nuclear-powered submarines under Aukus by the US to Australia is significant for the region.
    • Nuclear-sub know-how plays a key role in modern-day deterrence of adversaries.
    • The submarines need not resurface to refuel over prolonged periods, their ability to escape detection is enviable, and the very fact that they could be armed with nuclear weapons too can deter hostility.
  • Countering China:The PRC has been making use of diplomatic, military, and technological prowess to establish or nurture its own sphere of influence and emerge as the world’s most influential power.
    • It is necessary to use all instruments of power to deter aggression and to counter coercion by advancing integrated deterrence, deepening cooperation and enhancing interoperability.

WAY FORWARD

  • India would need to overcome its maritime challenges for it to derive benefits from the changing geopolitical situation, particularly in Asia.
  • The Minister of external affairs has talked about an attempt to frame India’s strategic interest and a blow to the Indo Pacific in Kautilyan terms.
  • It seeks to understand how people's security and well-being hinges on developments in the Indo Pacific and outlines the dynamics of India’s continental and maritime mandalas.
  • It delineates ways for India to maintain security and achieve economic prosperity through strategies that are quintessentially Kautilyan: fostering cooperation, forging partnerships, and enhancing domestic capability.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-says-quad-aukus-are-cliques-in-us-indo-pacific-strategy/article65056079.ece

 

 

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