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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD)’ is the transforming itself into a trade bloc from a military alliance, in present times. Discuss. 

    27 Jan, 2021 GS Paper 2 International Relations

    Approach

    • Start your answer by briefly discussing what is a Quad.
    • Discuss the need for Quad from a geo-economic prism rather than as a military bloc.
    • Conclude suitably.

    Introduction

    Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is the informal strategic dialogue between India, the USA, Japan, and Australia. The Quad was established, primarily as a strategic bloc, to counter China’s aggressive stance in the South China Sea.

    However, Quad’s shared objective to support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region, could also form the basis of a trade agreement and turn it into a major trade bloc.

    Body

    Transformation of Quad Into A Trade Bloc:

    • Complex Interdependence: In the world of complex interdependence whereby nations have trade dependency over each other or collective responsibility of global commons, a military bloc reminiscent of the cold war era seems quite outdated.
      • In this context, it is more plausible that Quad member countries envision themselves from a geo-economic prism.
      • Also, a military bloc may bring all great powers (US, China, India, Russia) to the brink of a war, which is not in the interest of these countries and global peace.
    • Inclusive Indo-Pacific Region: Quad member countries agreed that a free, open, prosperous, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region will serve the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large.
      • Quad also envisages addressing the common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region, as well as on enhancing connectivity.
    • Blue Dot Network: It is a multi-stakeholder initiative (led by the US along with Japan and Australia) to bring together governments, the private sector, and civil society to promote high-quality, trusted standards for global infrastructure development.
      • It could directly counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
    • Tackling Global Challenges: Challenges emanating from Covid-19 highlighted the need for improving the resilience of supply chains and self-sufficiency also.
      • In this context, the transformation of Quad into a trade bloc can help tackle future global challenges more effectively.

    Way Forward

    • Need For Clear Vision: The Quad nations need to better explain the Indo-Pacific Vision in an overarching framework with the objective of advancing everyone’s economic and security interests.
      • This will reassure the littoral States that the Quad will be a factor for the regional benefit, and a far cry from Chinese allegations that it is some sort of a military alliance.
    • Integration of Projects: The connectivity projects of Quad member countries (the US’ Indo-pacific economic corridor, Japan’s Asia-Africa Economic Corridor, India’s Project Mausam) should be integrated to be more proactive in pushing ahead the vision of connectivity.
    • Expanding Quad: The Quad should focus on building a robust regional consultation mechanism and coordinate with ASEAN nations on issues of regional importance.

    Conclusion

    If ever a Quad trade agreement were to become a reality, a reduction in trade costs would go a long way towards fulfilling the economic potential of the alliance. However, there is a need to put the military component and the economic component together. This will help Quad to emerge as a very strong alliance as without military muscle all other fields cannot be excelled.

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