Why India Should limit its Involvement With QUAD?

Synopsis: The stand-off at Ladakh has shown the limits of India-U.S. security ties and India’s involvement in the Quad. So, India should limit its involvement in QUAD and prioritize national security.

How India joined the QUAD?

China’s encroachment & India’s response

  1. China was expanding its footprint in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region over the last few years.
  2. Thus, India required an up-gradation of its naval capabilities and enhancement of ties with the Indian Ocean Region littoral states and other major powers in the region.
  3. Later, due to the shared concerns relating to the rise of China, India-U.S. security ties deepened, For example,
    • Focus on Interoperability of defence equipment and training based on defence purchases,
    • Conducting frequent land and sea exercises,
    • The signing of agreements to harmonize the two countries’ military doctrines and operations.
India got dragged into the QUAD by the US
  • The US wants to maintain its global hegemony and sees china’s rise as a threat to the world order.
  • The deepening relationship with the US gradually pulled India into the ambit of the Indo-Pacific. (Indo-Pacific is a concept that views the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean as an integrated geopolitical space.)
  • This India joined the QUAD to expand its maritime ties with other regional states such as Japan, Australia.
What is the consequence of India’s involvement in QUAD?
  • By joining with the U.S.-led maritime coalition, India ignored the principal areas of its security concerns.
  • In the words of Shivashankar Menon, by joining QUAD India emphasized more focus on maritime borders. But had no clues on how to protect its borders on the mainland.
  • The shifting of India’s alignment with the U.S. and its allies made china respond strongly by engaging in direct confrontation at our territorial borders.
  • This resulted in the border face-off in Ladakh, from April 2020. By doing so China has reminded t India that its security concerns lie in its northern borders, not the west Pacific.
Why India should limit its involvement with QUAD?
  1. First, India is the only Quad member that is not in the west Pacific. It is also the only one that shares an undemarcated 3,500-km land border with China. So, any developments will have more impact on India-China relation. For example, Ladakh standoff.
  2. Second, Quad neither shares a strategic vision nor is it animated by a shared agenda. Its members despite being anti-china continue to forge ties with China. For example,
      • in 2020 China became India’s number one trade partner
      • American investors hold $1 trillion of Chinese equity, and 75% of U.S. companies in China continue to invest there.
  3. Third, The Quad has a core structural problem. It revolves around the U.S. which is self-centred in defining and pursuing its interests and hardly serves the security interests of its members.
What are the suggestions?
  1. One, India needs to dilute its focus on the Indo-Pacific and the Quad. It should prioritise spending of resources on issues concerning national security. (The border, the neighbours and the Indian Ocean.)
  2. Two, the rebuilding of ties with China will have to be a priority concern. Recent disengagement at LAC (Pangong Tso) is a step in the right direction.
  3. Three, the need to assure our commitment to democratic pluralism by building back our national ethos. Foreign policy should be made in line with domestic affairs.
  4. Finally, India’s foreign policy has often been ad hoc, reactive and short-term, reflecting the absence of broad strategic culture. So, with the rising ambition of India, we need to build a cohesive strategic vision to aid India’s interest in the long term.

Source: The Hindu

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