The changing global order, uncertain international politics, and regrouping of allies but amid all the turmoil, India has been at the centre stage. History is once again repeating itself in the form of Cold war 2.0. The defeat of the US in Afghanistan, the Covid pandemic, and the Ukraine war are creating space for the realignment. In this international political manoeuvring, the formation of QUAD and its dependency on India speaks volumes about the future global world order.
Without India, Quad could not have risen
In a recent interview with The Sunday Guardian, Tomohiko Taniguchi, special advisor to the former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe speaking on the QUAD grouping highlighted India’s importance. Replying to the question related to India’s role in the grouping he said, “Without India, without Narendra Modi, Quad could not have flown”.
Speaking on Delhi’s hesitancy & Modi’s decision in joining the US-led group he said, “There was a degree of hesitancy among the elite community members of Delhi, about India joining a largely US-led camp. It took the courage & straightforwardness of Narendra Modi to have overcome the legacy of non-alignment”.
Long term Challenge in Indo-Pacific
It is pertinent to mention that earlier the security architecture of Japan was limited to the Pacific Ocean. But, to include India in this concept, Shinzo Abe expanded its geographic horizon from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific. It is believed that the Indian Ocean guides the international trade routes and India is the king of the Indian Ocean. So, leaving out India would have brought zero weight to the grouping.
Taniguchi’s statement that “without India, Quad could not have flown” cements the very fact. It is the political alignment of India in the grouping which has increased its importance and has given nightmares to rogue countries.
QUAD without India
The QUAD security dialogue was started in 2007 by former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. But, Indian hesitancy in joining any bloc had made the grouping a dead horse. It was the 2017 ASEAN summit in Manila when India under PM Modi agreed to revive the security dialogue to counter the growing bully behaviour of China in the Indo-Pacific and Himalayan region.
Further in March 2021, the members released a vision document of the QUAD. Advocating the rule-based global order it called for a free & open Indo-Pacific region.
The importance of India can be understood by the very fact that the Indian Ocean forms the world’s busiest trade route and around 80 percent of the world’s maritime oil trade passes through the Indian Ocean Region.
Another angle of India’s prominent role in the grouping is its capability to independently counter China in the Himalayan & Indian Ocean region. India has successively given proper treatment to the paper dragon’s bullying behaviour. Be it Doklam, Galwan, or its debt trap port capturing diplomacy in the Indian Ocean region, India has almost choked out the Chinese sinister plan. Also, it was the Indian assertive position against the unrealistic BRI project that alarmed the world.
A combined force against the common enemy
An institution created for any purpose assimilates the common minimum understanding of every one of its members, and so does the QUAD. It has been created to maintain the global power balance in the Indo-Pacific region and no country should be allowed to break the rule-based order, further disturbing world peace. So it becomes important for all like-minded countries to create a combined force against the common enemy.
The growing interaction among member countries is a way forward in this direction. The recently concluded QUAD summit in Japan pledged to increase cooperation among members. Further, reports also suggest that members have agreed to launch a dedicated satellite for the QUAD and stimulate intelligence data sharing among members.
Moreover, to counter the Chinese economic hegemony in the region, the group has announced to form an economic pact in the form of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which pledge to improve transparency, diversity, security, and sustainability in our supply chains to make them more resilient and well-integrated.
All these improvements in a very short period give the idea of changing times ahead. The success of QUAD is compulsory not because Japan, India, America, or Australia is in danger but because global peace is in danger. Although every country brings equal weight to any platform but in the QUAD security alliance, India’s role will prove to be decisive in deciding the fate of the grouping.