Worldview with Suhasini Haidar | Quad meet: differences between India and others

This week on Worldview, we discuss the Quad announcements and the differences over how to tackle Russia, China, Myanmar

The Foreign Ministers of India, Japan and United States met in Australia for the Quad ministerial, which is preparing the way for a meeting between Prime Minister Modi, U.S. President Biden, Australian PM Morrison, hosted by Japanese PM Kishida in Tokyo in the next few months. 

Read: Joint statement by the Quad

Main areas of Quad announcements:

  • Vaccine partnership: Plans have been made to produce one billion vaccines for the Indo-Pacific region- funded by U.S., produced in India and distributed through Japanese and Australian network.
  • Quad partners have collectively pledged to donate more than 1.3 billion vaccine doses globally, already distributed more than 500 million, and are producing 1 billion vaccines at Hyderabad’s Biological E.
  • Maritime domain awareness and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).
  • Critical and emerging Technology: Building a safe and transparent 5G network.
  • Climate change- with a plan to hold a  Indo-Pacific Clean Energy Supply Chain Forum in mid-2022.
  • Counter terrorism, maritime security and cybersecurity initiatives: In particular, the Quad said it “denounced the use of terrorist proxies for cross-border terrorism and urge countries to work together to eliminate terrorist safe havens; disrupt terrorist networks and the infrastructure and financial channels which sustain them; and halt cross-border movement of terrorists,condemnation of terrorist attacks in India, including 26/11 Mumbai and Pathankot attacks, and added a reference to UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021) that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country, shelter or train terrorists, or plan or finance terrorist acts, with such ungoverned spaces being a direct threat to the safety and security of the Indo-Pacific.”

While Quad members have reiterated that the grouping is only an economic coalition of like-minded Indo-Pacific democracies who are involved in ensuring a Free Open and Inclusive Indo-Pacific and a Rules based International order, they also had discussions on specific global development, and it is here where India appeared to have deep divergences from the other three members:

What seems clear is that the Quad remains strong on its Indo-Pacific commitments, but the worldviews of the 4 Quad partners is far from the same. In addition what is playing out were other big meetings this month, including:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing where they declared there would be “no limits” to their partnership.
  • Central Asian leaders who also went to Beijing for the Olympics opening and reaffirmed a commitment to the “One China” policy.
  •  Pakistan PM Khan who visited Beijing, met with Mr. Xi and signed a number of agreements and issued a 33 para joint statement, and will soon visit Moscow for a rare Pakistan-Russia bilateral.

As a result India is keen not just to keep its independence on international developments, but not be seen as working only with one group of allies- the US, EU, NATO, Japan, Australia. India remains in the SCO, is standing by its traditional ties with Russia, even remains a part of the Russia-India-China trilateral- where Moscow has suggested that PM Modi, President Putin could meet with President Xi in the months ahead.

Book recommendations:

  • Indo-Pacific Empire: China, America and the Contest for the World’s Pivotal Region by Rory Medcalf, who is a noted Australian scholar, and a previous one Contest for the Indo-Pacific- Why China won’t Map the Future
  • The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate by Robert D. Kaplan
  • The United States and the Indo Pacific: Obama’s legacy and the Trump transition by Oliver Turner
  • India and Australia in Indo Pacific: Dynamics of Defence, Diplomacy and Diaspora by Tejinder Hundal, an Indian defence scholar

Collected essays:

  • Asia’s New Geopolitics: Essays on Reshaping the Indo-Pacific by Michael R. Auslin, who is also the author of The End of the Asian Century
  • Conflict and Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific: New Geopolitical Realities edited by Ash Rossitera
  • China-India-Japan in the Indo-Pacific: Ideas, Interests and Infrastructure by Jagannath Panda at IDSA

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