After COVID-19, India joined Australia, Japan and USA for a ministerial meeting under the Quad and discussed issues across Indo-Pacific and the military takeover in Myanmar.

Points To Note

  • Discussed contemporary challenges, especially the impact of Covid-19 and agreed to enhance access to affordable vaccines, medicines and medical equipment.
    • Discussed countering disinformation, counter-terrorism, maritime security, and the “priority of strengthening democratic resilience in the broader region”.
    • Emphasised their commitment to upholding a rules-based international order, underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation in the international seas and peaceful resolution of disputes.
    • Reiterated their “common vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, with clear support for ASEAN cohesion and centrality”, and noted that the Indo-Pacific concept had “gathered growing international support, including in Europe”.
    • Discussed climate change and cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and supply chain resilience.
    • Agreed on holding ministerial meetings of the Quad at least once a year and meetings at senior and working levels on a regular basis to bolster cooperation on advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific.
  • Significance
    • QUAD meeting, held in the backdrop of the ongoing withdrawal of Chinese forces from positions along the LAC, underlines that India’s interest in the Quad is not tactical but profoundly strategic.
      • For India, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is also about addressing the growing power imbalance with China that has manifold consequences for India’s security and prosperity as well its regional and international standing.
    • It signalled the new US administration’s commitment to the Quad as a key formation in the Indo-Pacific.
      • The momentum behind the Quad picked up in the year 2020 in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, China’s growing assertiveness, and deterioration of China’s bilateral relations with all Quad partners.
    • Chinese officials have likened the Quad as “mini NATO” and said its activities are aimed at targeting third parties, a charge rejected by the 4 members of the group.
      • NATO is a political and military alliance whose primary goals are the collective defence of its members and the maintenance of a democratic peace in the North Atlantic area.

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)

  • It is an informal strategic dialogue between India, United States of America, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.
  • The idea of Quad was first mooted by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the year 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it, apparently due to Chinese pressure.
  • In December 2012, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe again floated the concept of Asia’s “Democratic Security Diamond” involving Australia, India, Japan and the United States of America to safeguard the maritime commons from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific.
  • In November 2017, India, Australia, USA and Japan gave shape to the long-pending “Quad” Coalition to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence (especially China).
  • In the year 2020, all four Quad Countries – Japan, India, Australia and the United States of America took part in the Malabar exercise.
    • Naval exercise Malabar is an annual trilateral naval exercise between the navies of India, Japan, and United States of America which is held alternately in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Quad to hold first ministerial meeting Quad to hold first ministerial meeting