In today’s edition of our Current Affairs Dialog box, we will discuss Quad Summit. Navigate through the blog to understand the topic in detail and enhance your UPSC Preparation. Also, we have listed the topic’s relevance to the UPSC syllabus.
For Prelims: QUAD, Indo-Pacific.
For Mains: Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India's Interests, Bilateral Groupings & Agreements, QUAD and its Significance.
Why in the News?
Recently, the Prime Minister of India attended the second in-person meeting of Quad leaders in Tokyo, Japan.
Also, read our yesterday’s edition of the Current Affairs Dialog box in this linked article.
In modern times, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) is transitioning from a military alliance to an economic union. Comment
The Summit saw the grouping take several concrete steps forward.
Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA): It announced a new Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness initiative for the Quad partners to respond to natural disasters as well as combat illegal fishing.
This is particularly important as China is said to be responsible for most of the world’s illegal fishing and, worryingly, uses such fishing and fishing vessels to assert claims over the territorial waters of other countries in the East China and South China Seas.
The IPMDA will help countries with information on what’s happening in their territorial waters and in their exclusive economic zones, be it illegal fishing or ships with illegal wares passing in the dark of night.
Infrastructure: Additionally, it has committed over $50 billion towards assistance and investment in developing infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific over the next five years.
This is aimed at countering the influence China has built in recent years across continents with its Belt and Road Initiative.
Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF): India had joined the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), an Indo-Pacific economic led by the US to counter China.
India is among 13 countries that have joined the initiative.
IPEF is built around trade, supply chain resilience, clean energy and decarbonisation, and taxes and anti-corruption measures.
While its objectives are geopolitical and aimed at countering China’s economic heft in the Indo-Pacific, it has components that can benefit member-states economically.
Quad Fellowship: Quad leaders also announced opening applications for the Quad Fellowship.
It will sponsor 100 American, Australian, Indian, and Japanese students to study in the United States each year for graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Climate: The leaders launched the 'Quad Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Package (Q-CHAMP)' with 'mitigation' and 'adaptation' as its two themes.
What is the Quad and why was it formed?
The Quad is an informal multilateral grouping of India, the U.S., Australia, and Japan aimed at cooperation for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
The region, composed of two oceans and spanning multiple continents is a hub of maritime trade and naval establishments
Following the Indian Ocean tsunami, India, Japan, Australia, and the US created an informal alliance to collaborate on disaster relief efforts.
In 2007, then PM of Japan, Shinzo Abe, formalized the alliance, as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or the Quad.
The early iteration of the Quad, largely based around maritime security, eventually dissipated.
The Quad leaders held their first formal summit in 2021 and met again virtually in March 2021.
Objectives of Quad
Primary objectives of Quad include:
Combating the Covid-19 crisis,
Addressing the risks of climate change,
Creating an ecosystem for investment in the region and
Boosting technological innovation.
Quad members have also indicated a willingness to expand the partnership through a so-called Quad Plus that would include South Korea, New Zealand, and Vietnam amongst others.
Significance of Quad for India
It is believed that the forum strategically counters China’s economic and military rise.
Interestingly, if Chinese hostilities rise on the borders, India can take the support of the other Quad nations to counter the communist nation.
In addition, India can even take the help of its naval front and conduct strategic explorations in the Indo-Pacific region.
Principles of Quad
The motive behind the Quad is to keep the strategic sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any military or political influence.
It is basically seen as a strategic grouping to reduce Chinese domination.
The core objective of the Quad is to secure a rules-based global order, freedom of navigation and a liberal trading system.
The coalition also aims to offer alternative debt financing for nations in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Quad leaders exchange views on contemporary global issues such as critical and emerging technologies, connectivity and infrastructure, cyber security, maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, climate change, pandemic and education.
Quad Summit in 2021
In March 2021, US President Joe Biden hosted the first-ever summit of the Quad leaders in a virtual format.
It vowed to strive for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, inclusive, anchored by democratic values and unconstrained by coercion, sending an apparent message to China.