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First QUAD Summit

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    15th Mar, 2021

In a signal development, the first QUAD (Quadrilateral Cooperation) summit held virtually between India, US, Japan and Australia.

Context

In a signal development, the first QUAD (Quadrilateral Cooperation) summit held virtually between India, US, Japan and Australia.

About

What is Quad?

  • The Quad, or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, comprises the United States, India, Japan and Australia.
  • It is an informal group of the four nations that hold semi-regular meetings, joint military drills, and discussions about regional, economic and development assistance.
  • The framework was established in 2007, but it took on a new level of importance in 2019 with a discussion among foreign ministers amid China’s increasing influence.

Why Quad assumes significance for four nations?

  • United States: For the United States under Joe Biden, Quad assumes greater significance as it looks to strengthen its commitment in Asia and counter China after the tumultuous Trump era.
  • Japan, India and Australia: For Japan, India and Australia, China has emerged as a security threat in several positions, making the Quad meeting a key opportunity to strengthen strategic ties. 

Chinese Maritime Aggression in the Region

  • String of Pearls: to encircle India and limit its maritime expansion
  • Belt and Road Initiative: viewed as model of Neo Imperialism
    • Debt Trap Diplomacy (Hambantota Port, Pakistan’s CPEC)
    • Weaponization of Supply Chain :  deployment of naval vessels at Chinese-controlled ports

Key-highlights of the virtual Summit

  • The Spirit of the Quad: A joint statement, titled ‘The Spirit of the Quad’ was presented after the summit
    • The cooperation decided to pool their financial resources, manufacturing capabilities and logistics to ramp up manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the Indo-Pacific region
  • Expanding vaccine diplomacy: The leaders finalised a landmark initiative under which huge investments will be made in India to create additional production capacities to roll out a billion coronavirus vaccine doses by 2022 for exports to the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Free Indo-Pacific: The Quad leaders vowed to strive for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion, sending an apparent message to China.
  • Working groups: Three working groups in areas of vaccine, climate crisis and critical and emerging technology would also be created.

Importance of Indo Pacific Region (IPR)

  • It is the geographical connotation of the area which covers the Eastern Coast of Africa through Indian Ocean and Western Coast of United States of America.
  • Countries of Indo-Pacific region: Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor Leste, United States, Vietnam.

Significance

  • Minerals: IPR houses deep sea minerals on deep sea floor consisting of polymetallic nodules (PMN), crusts, and accumulations of metallic sulfides from deep vents. mining the PMN—which contain quantities of manganese, iron, copper, nickel, titanium, and cobalt
  • Hydrocarbons: Deposits of petroleum and natural gas under the seafloor are the most valuable and sought-after fuels.
  • Fisheries: The main fisheries in IPR are Bombay duck, catfish, tuna and tuna-like species, ponyfishes, croakers, mullets, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, sharks, prawns, shrimps and lobsters.

India’s initiatives in Indo-Pacific

  • SAGAR: To promote its strategic interests in the Indian Ocean, India launched the SAGAR vision in 2015.
  • Indian Pacific Ocean Initiative: On 4 November 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the IPOI at the East Asia Summit in Bangkok.
    • The main objective of the IPOI is to ensure the safety, security, and stability of the maritime domain, and to do that, seven pillars have been laid out.  
    • IPOI is being built on the pillars of India’s ‘Act East’ policy (focusing on the Eastern Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific) and ‘Act West’ (focusing on the Western Indian Ocean).
  • India’s theatre command: The Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), India’s first and only tri-service theater command of the Indian Armed Forces is located in IPR which aids immensely in protecting India’s strategic interest in the region.
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