Rivalry of Quad ll and China’s Counter Strategies
Quadrilateral Security Dialogue consists of four members, the US, Japan, India, and Australia. It was formed merely to increase maritime cooperation in 2007. But deep down its agenda was to counter China economically and militarily. Over the years, Quad lost its effectiveness due to the clash of interests. Japan emphasized democratic identities, India wanted functional cooperation, Australia wanted to make Quad a formal alliance whereas the US wanted to decrease China’s growing power. The only reason joining them together was a common enemy, China. As China was becoming an economic and industrial superpower, it was a threat to the USA. The other three states had their own grudges against China. So just to overcome China’s increasing dominance, Quad was a unification that may lead to an obstruction to China.
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End of Quad :
Quad I ended not in a dime, but with a whimper. The interest of the four members was very contrasting also China played a vital role that waxed Quad. China applied a divide and rule policy in which it started to divide the four states through different strategies. India was sensitive to China’s reaction at the time given its desire for a Nuclear Suppliers’ Group waiver. In 2007, quadrilateral critic Kevin Rudd became prime minister of Australia and officially left quad. China is the biggest supplier of earth metals, whereas Japan and the U.S. are by far the largest importers, accounting for more than two-thirds of China’s rare earth metals exports. All these reasons led to the end of Quad.
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Revival of Quad :
In 2017, during ASEAN Summits in Manila, all four former members agreed to revive the quad alliance in order to counter China militarily and diplomatically in the South China Sea. Quad did five follow-up meetings during 2017-2019. In 2019 they met in New York city to reform quad, they wanted to do Malabar exercises, but the idea was delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. On 3rd March 2021, President Joe Biden issued the National Security Strategic Guidance stating that
“We will only succeed in advancing American interests and upholding our universal values by working in common cause with our closest allies and partners, and by renewing our enduring sources of national strength….China, in particular, has rapidly become more assertive. It is the only competitor capable of combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to mount a sustained challenge to a stable and open international system.”
Two days later, Australian Prime Minister Morrison stated that the Quad will hold a virtual meeting. On March 12, 2021, Quad held its first-ever virtual meeting. They discussed various issues such as development, cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and the COVID-19 vaccination program, etc. One of the main agendas was that the states agreed to adopt a smart blend of competition, cooperation, and confrontation for containing Chinese actions. They also stated to ensure periodic meetings to strengthen the Quad working together for a common vision.
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China counter-attack :
The quad is problematic to China’s strategy as it aims to unify four powerful states to resist China on different forums especially in the Indo-pacific region. This increasing tension can affect China in the future, so to counter quad China has doubled its military and strategic cooperation with
Russia. It has already committed to expanding bilateral nuclear energy cooperation with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin called Chinese-Russian relations “the best in
history”.Furthermore, there are China-Pakistan relations fulled by a shared hostility towards India.CPEC is also a project strengthening the mutual cooperation between the two states. It will also boost China’s economy. China is also keen to increase good relations with Iran. This China-Russia-Pakistan-Iran could be a challenge to Quad.
A loophole in China’s Counter Attack :
The commonality is the main feature of any alliance. Quad has a common enemy, China. But in China’s case, its alliance lacks that kind of mutuality. The interests of Russia, Pakistan, Iran, and China are all different. In the long term run, this alliance of China may not work out well also China’s expenses on military power also makes many doubtful that China may end up like the Soviet Union.
Quad could be a great challenge to China. But we need to remember how Quad vanished in 2007 due to a clash of interests and it could also happen again. Furthermore, if Quad works out, it could actually give China some tough time. In both conditions, Quad alarms a beginning of a new cold war between the US and China, and the only permanent thing in the current scenario is intense tension in the Indo-Pacific region.