Quad, Southeast Asia and regional synergy
Shaurya K Sangra
âGood regionalism is good geopolitics; and bad regionalism is bad geopolitics â
After the relaunch of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) in 2017 by the former President of the United States, Donald Trump, the Quad has become the quintessential not only for the four member countries (India, United States, Japan, Australia) but also of prime importance. to the geopolitics of the Southeast Asia region. Quad, which was first formed in 2017, can be seen today as an end result of the Obama administration’s âPivot to East Asiaâ regional strategy in 2012, which shifted priorities of the Middle East region towards the South East Asian region by giving it more resources and international assistance. go forward. This was more or less due to China’s strong, sudden and unmistakable rise to power not only as a regional power but as a global superpower, capable enough to challenge Washington in the post-covid world.
Since the 21st century, the world has indeed become multipolar with nations like India, South Africa, Brazil becoming focal points of international trade and development. The world has hitherto been close to a unipolar world since the disintegration of the Soviet Union in December 1991. This has led to multilateralism and the establishment of more intertwined bilateral and trilateral partnerships within nations. Countries have realized that in order to have a firmer regional policy and growth, a more active and inclusive foreign policy must be advocated. unilaterally sitting 7,000 miles away without a NATO ally to counter its growing strategic influence.
Unsurprisingly, when the Quad started to take shape again, there were and still are rumors that Quad is an âASIAN NATOâ by Chinese spokespersons around the world. In response, the Foreign Minister clarified during the Raisina Dialogue that the discussion that Quad is an Asian NATO was a âmisrepresentation of realityâ. There is no doubt that Quad is not a military alliance to begin with focused on enhancing technological innovations and maritime safety. The state of Exercise Malabar, like the one conducted in the Bay of Bengal last week, is a naval exercise of unprecedented magnitude – a testament to the same.
The reason Quad has more relevance today and has become a pivot of US foreign policy to counter China is that it is made up of regional countries capable enough to counter and look China in the eye. whether economically or by defending their strategically important borders.
Last year we saw how India retaliated against the Chinese in eastern Ladakh without revealing anything. Japan has faced contested Chinese claims to the Senkaku Islands. Australia has also struggled to counter China’s claim to maritime waters. India, which shares a long land border with China and is both an economic and military powerhouse in the region, has a lot to offer America. This special relationship was seen at the first in-person Quad Summit in Washington on September 24 last month. Even though there was a quadrilateral summit, the Prime Minister had a bilateral meeting with President Joe Biden, Yoshihide Suga of Japan, Scott Morison of Australia and a subsequent meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The summit was a great success and was also the first time that the Indian government interacted with the new Democratic administration under President Joe.
Since the removal of the hyphenation in US foreign policy towards India under the Bush administration in the 1990s India and America have found common ground to build previously strained relations. India and America since the events of September 11, 2001 advocate the global war on terrorism because they suffer from the same problem of radical Islamic terrorism. India and America worked on the groundbreaking nuclear deal in 2006, giving India’s energy sector a huge boost. India then became a major defense partner of the United States of America. America’s exit from Afghanistan after the 20 Years War and the way the exit went haphazardly showed the world that America really wanted to get away and stop the flow of $ 100 billion. dollars in the landlocked region each year. This is going to be a complete shift in US policy both ideologically and practically as the focus would shift totally to the eastern part of Afghanistan. America can now devote its full attention to matters concerning Beijing and call on its best men and economic power. Even though India is not part of the Pearl Necklace or the Belt and Road Initiative, neighboring countries have no alternative and must follow China’s path. The port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka, the port of Gwadar in Pakistan and soon the port of Karachi are perfect examples. The repercussions of China’s debt trap policy are clearly visible in Sri Lanka, which is currently in a state of emergency for shortage of essential goods and services. Sri Lanka is thus suffering from high inflation and the situation of the Pakistani economy is not better either.
If Quad in its true sense wants to counter the rise of China by simply limiting itself to policy-making and maritime exercises to mediate its adversaries, in this case China. The Dialogue would become just a matter of handshakes, photographs, speeches and high level leaders. Quad is past its nascent period and must be operational. It would be too early to call for results, but the need to start taking initiatives is necessary. Quad must involve regional partners and actors, integrate them into the system while giving them sufficient incentives and reductions to counter the Chinese. The case of countries in difficulty, particularly in the South China Sea, east of the Strait of Malacca, must be defended.
BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) which is a sector-oriented cooperative organization, which consists of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and of Thailand, if properly maneuvered, has the potential to create comprehensive regional territorial and economic partnership within member countries, led by India itself. With the help of other multilateral organizations like the Quad or the UKUS (Australia, UK and US), they could be used as a force to stop China’s growing strategic influence in Southeast Asia. East and beyond.
(The author continues his secondary education at Jodhamal Public School)