Q) The increasing importance of Quad and China’s aggressive diplomacy have led to the emergence of fault lines in South Asia and the wider Indo-Pacific. Discuss.

Why this question?

Issue of current importance 

Key demand of the Question 

Discuss briefly the emerging fault lines in South Asia and the wider Indo-Pacific in the context of Quad’s future role and China’s aggressive diplomacy.


Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.


Start by giving a context of the question.


In the first part, discuss China's attempts to play down the relevance of the Quad by it stating Quad as an anti- China initiative, its wolf warrior diplomacy, etc.

In the next part, present an overview of the emerging fault lines in South Asia and the wider Indo-Pacific in the context of Quad’s future role and China’s aggressive diplomacy.


Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

Quad or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is an informal grouping comprising India, USA, Japan and Australia. The increasing relevance of the grouping has been a constant source of concern for some of the global economies like China. The key guiding Principles of the grouping include rules based global order, liberal training system and freedom of navigation.

Emerging fault lines in South Asia

  • The recent remark of China against Bangladesh is not just part of its wolf warrior diplomacy but also its suspicion over the Quad (Quadrilateral Framework) grouping of US, India, Japan and Australia. 
  • One of the core agendas of QUAD is to ensure that the Indo-Pacific region remains inclusive, free and open. 
    • This assumes greater significance in light of the expansionist and at times belligerent approach of China in the region.
    • Most nations in the region (Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and India) have territorial or maritime security issues with China. 
    • China has been particularly aggressive in the South China sea where it has refused to honour internationally accepted maritime laws and agreements. 
  • So, while the QUAD may discuss economic, development, pandemic and other issues, the core issue will always remain security and defense to counter the growing military might of China that it is not averse to flexing from time to time.

China’s Aggressive Diplomacy

  1. China has always recognised Indo Pacific as Asia Pacific as it believes Indo Pacific to be an anti-China initiative. 
  2. China wants to increase its influence in Indian Ocean through investments in several countries like the humble total port development in Sri Lanka. 
  3. China has a free trade agreement with the Asian, Australia and New Zealand. Training on economic trends to India has India not having such agreements.
  4. China has been using aggressive voice warrior diplomacy to threaten the neighbouring countries.

Way Forward

  • Since, India is the only country in Quad that has China as its neighbour and shares a long undefined border with the country, it becomes important for India to maintain a balance between the Quad and China.
  • It should further enhance its cooperation with the Quad especially in strategic matters.
  • There are some fundamental differences between the members of Quad especially in their perception about China. The members should resolve it before moving ahead with any.

The challenges posed by the pandemic presented a perfect setting for the Quad nations to demonstrate their commitment to the broader agenda that is in tune with the urgent requirements of the region. In this context, the repurposing of the Quad to deal with shared challenges in the Indo-Pacific ensures the forum’s political sustainability over the longer term.