Significance of QUAD leaders’ summit for India

Synopsis: India’s alignment with QUAD should be in line with India’s principle of Strategic autonomy. In this article, we will analyse the significance of the QUAD leaders’ summit for India.

  • Recently, the US and China met at a high-level summit in Alaska.
  • This high-level summit was preceded by the first Leaders’ Summit of the QUAD that was held on March 12.
  • During the QUAD leaders’ summit, a number of issues over china were raised by the QUAD members. Such as:
      • China’s coercion of Australia.
      • Next, China’s harassment around the Senkaku Islands and,
      • China’s aggression on the border with India.
  • The U.S. directly passed the above concerns to the Chinese diplomats during the Alaska summit.
  • Further, during the QUAD leaders’ summit, all countries agreed to establish 3C’s” working groups (on COVID-19 vaccines, Climate Change and Critical Technology).
  • The outcomes of the QUAD leaders’ summit i.e.,  the establishment of 3C’s” working groups and offensive stand on China, are well in the interest of Japan and Australia. However, the outcomes are not supportive of India’s interest.
Why the outcomes of the QUAD leaders’ summit are not in India’s interest?
  1. First, the QUAD leaders failed to support India’s plea in WTO during the QUAD leaders’ summit.
      • India along with South Africa has made a proposal in WTO to waive certain provisions of the TRIPS agreement.
      • A waiver will help India to increase its capacity and funding for vaccine production and manage COVID crisis effectively.
      • Further, it will aid global efforts to fight the Covid19 crisis. Because India is the world’s largest manufacturer of has already exported 58 million doses to nearly 71 countries worldwide.
      • However, QUAD member countries didn’t show any interest in dropping their opposition to India’s WTO proposal.
  2. Second, the commitments made by the U. S to assist India in climate change are not yet implemented. For example,
      • In 2016, the US agreed to fund $1.4 billion to finance solar technology. Yet, the funds have not reached India.
      • Similarly, the US has not joined the International Solar Alliance, founded by India and France, which they committed to join in 2016.
      • Against this backdrop, the establishment of a working group on climate change will be of the least interest to India.
  3. Third, the working group set up to cooperate on critical technologies will benefit India in 2 cases. If it helps in reducing the dependence on Chinese telecom equipment and in finding new sources of rare-earth minerals.
      • But any move by QUAD partners for international rule-making on the digital economy, or data localization will not be accepted by India.
  4. Fourth, QUAD’s tough stand on China will have a major impact on India. For example, a year-long stand-off at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This is because;
      • India is the only Quad member not a part of the military alliance.
      • India is the only Quad country with a land boundary with China.
      • China has made deep inroads along the LAC.
  5. Also, the violence at the LAC has also left three long-term impacts on Indian strategic planning.
      • Need to increase more resources, troops, infrastructure to the LAC to secure the LAC.
      • The possibility of a two-front situation becoming a major territorial threat.
      • Need to prioritize territorial security as against the QUAD’s perception of strengthening Maritime security.
Way forward
  • The posture of viewing QUAD as anti-china has been changed. This is a welcome development from India’s side.
  • Despite last week’s Quad Summit, India’s choices for its Quad strategy will be in line with India’s principle of Strategic Autonomy. India will maintain cordial relations along with its territorial neighbours and close friendships with other democracies, the U.S., Japan and Australia.

Source: The Hindu

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