Quad and Malabar Exercise
Jun 27, 2020
Quad and Malabar Exercise
The foreign ministers of the Quad countries - India, US, Australia and Japan - met on the sidelines of the UNGA meeting on 27th September 2019.
What is Quad?
- The Quadrilateral security dialogue or Quad was first mooted by the Japanese Prime Minister in 2007.
- However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it, apparently due to Chinese pressure.
- In November 2017, India, the US, Australia and Japan gave shape to the long-pending "Quad" Coalition to develop a new strategy to keep the critical sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence (especially China).
What is the significance of Quad?
- The group is seen as a regional counterweight to China and has only met at the Joint or Assistant Secretary level since 2017. The latest meeting is seen as an upgrade by at least three levels.
- The Quad countries were “resolute” in their view of the centrality of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in South East Asia.
- The notion of ASEAN centrality broadly refers to the group of countries being at the centre of security and strategic frameworks for the Asia-Pacific region.
What are the issues discussed?
- The Ministers met to discuss cooperation on counter-terrorism, mentoring, assistance in disaster relief, airtime security, cooperation, development, finance and cybersecurity efforts etc.
What are the major concerns of the Quad countries regarding China?
- Australia is worried about China's growing interest in its land, infrastructure and politics and influence on its universities.
- In the last decade, Japan believes that China has tried to bully it on several territorial issues.
- China has border disputes with India. China is also blocking India’s path into the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
- A weakened US sees the coalition as an opportunity to regain its influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
- India has been hesitant about the Quad, in part because it does not want to isolate China and because it has had a history of staying clear of security alliances.
- The US and Australia, concerned that China may be looking to establish a military base in the South Pacific that would extend its military reach toward the Americas, have been striving to build an alternative model to Beijing’s state-directed lending for infrastructure projects.
What is Malabar Exercise?
- Members of the Quad, barring Australia, are currently engaged in the annual Malabar exercises – military exercises that started between India and the U.S. in 1994 and became trilateral (with Japan) in 2015.
- India has not permitted Australia to participate in these exercises, concerned about what message it would send to China, which is wary of the exercise.