- Quad officials are scheduled to meet at Singapore to discuss their common agenda.
- Quad stands for ‘Quadrilateral’ grouping of India, Australia, Japan and the U.S.
- Its objective is to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.
- Quad was established in 2007, following cooperation after the 2004 tsunami. The idea was to better coordinate maritime capabilities for disaster situations.
- The Quad continues is a bureaucratic-level dialogue that meets twice a year. It is not a defence dialogue yet.
- In 2017, group was revived and seemed to have become a counter to China’s growing inroads into the region, despite denials that any particular country had been targeted.
- However, US wants to Focus on Indo pacific region only while India and Japan wanted to include the oceans up to Africa in their definition.
- The entire focus on the Indo-Pacific makes the Quad a maritime, rather than land-based, grouping, raising questions whether the cooperation extends to the Asia-Pacific and Eurasian regions.
Stands of India
- India has resisted raising the level of talks from an official to the political level. India has not admitted Australia in the Malabar exercises with the U.S. and Japan, despite requests from Canberra.
- The reason for India’s resistance is its apprehension that Indo-Pacific merely means an Indian military commitment to the US-led alliances in the Pacific Ocean. There is no reciprocal US commitment to issues of Indian concern relating to the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, two of the most important external areas for India.
- Also, Prime Minister speech at the Shangri-La dialogue clarified that “India doesn’t see the Indo-Pacific Region as a strategy or as a club of limited members” underlines New Delhi’s attempt to distinguish the Quad from the Indo-Pacific.
- During this round, the four countries are expected to discuss infrastructure projects they are working on, and building humanitarian disaster response mechanisms.
- Over the past few months, India and Japan have announced they will combine efforts on a number of projects in South Asia, including bridges and roads in Bangladesh, an LNG facility in Sri Lanka and reconstruction projects in Myanmar’s Rakhine province.
- Australia has unveiled an ambitious $2 billion project to fund infrastructure and build maritime and military infrastructure in the Pacific region, on which it is willing to cooperate with other Quad members.
- The four countries are also expected to talk about regional developments, including elections in the Maldives, the collapse of the government in Sri Lanka and the latest developments in North Korea.