QUAD meeting: What to expect?
Leaders of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogues (QUAD) are set to convene in their first ever interpersonal meeting today (24th September). The meeting comes against the backdrop of intense rivalry between Quad countries and China. The meeting bears momentous implications for the future of the Indo-Pacific region. The recently signed AUKUS treaty has further accentuated the collective desire of the Quad countries to contain China's wolf-warrior diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region. This article discusses plausible ramifications of the meeting between the Quad countries.
The meeting at the urging of the US president Joe Biden signals his administration's emphasis of the Indo-Pacific region and particularly the meeting is indicative of his ideal of multilateralism. However, in stark contrast to Trump, Biden administration has exhibited decisive push towards multilateral diplomacy. In fact, multilateralism had been one of the rallying cry of the Biden's presidency. In keeping with Biden's propensity towards multilateralism, in the 9 months following his oath Biden administration has engaged with allies in a bid to counter common problems.
Against this backdrop, The QUAD members had congregated in March 12 in this year and affirmed their commitment in restoring the free and open Indo-pacific rooted on international law and based on shared democratic values and unfettered by coercion. In spirit to promote cooperation, QUAD countries pledged collective cooperation in diverse sectors in issues spanning climate change, cyber space, critical technologies, counterterrorism, quality infrastructure investment, and humanitarian-assistance and disaster-relief as well as maritime domains.
The QUAD members are committed to sharing collective expertise on arena of medical technology and other similar issues in their bid to counter challenges to health security. Besides, another remarkable achievement of the meeting is the establishment of several working groups and setting the agenda to meet toward s the end of the year in order to foster cooperation and leverage mutual partnership in their attempt to confront critical period of geopolitics in the Indo-pacific region in order to ensure a free and open Indo-pacific.
Throughout the previous years, we have observed recurring assertions by QUAD members to secure the freedom and openness of the Indo-pacific region. Although implicit in their collective procedures and statements, there is no misgiving with regards to the fact that China constitute the single most pernicious threat to the free and indo-pacific and all of the countries are mobilizing in their effort to mount a collective safeguard against China's intrusive wolf-warrior diplomacy. Therefore, QUAD and all of the vigorous proceedings of the other groups in the Indo-pacific region in the recent past should be seen through the prism of rising China's assertive diplomacy and rivalries with the countries in the region ranging from India, Australia and Japan.
The collective angst towards China's expansionism and a collective desire to secure stability in the Indo-pacific region had been manifested in the recent nuclear powered submarine deals between UK, USA and Australia in an effort to contend with the increasing aggressive China in the South-China Sea and peripheral region. This deal also underscores a decisive shift in the agenda and mechanisms of countering China. AUKUS, therefore, can be a precursor of host of other security related deals among the QUAD countries. The meeting, therefore, comes amidst a revolutionary juncture and therefore is poised to yield fundamental changes in the core procedures of containing China.
Although the QUAD countries had antagonized China, however these countries are dependent on China for bilateral trade as trade volume with China account for huge portion of the international trade of the countries. As it stands, the aggregate GDP of all the Quad countries is $34 trillion. However, quite starkly China remains the largest trading partner of three of the nations of the QUAD.
Therefore, it is an issue for these countries to be overly reliant on China as any disruption by China motivated by hostile intention might imperil the economy of these countries. If the QUAD contemplates to develop into formalized structure, establishing agreed-upon trade architecture within the Indo-Pacific is a precondition. Hence, QUAD countries will try to forge an alternative supply chain among the countries in order to ensure stability in the supply chain and economy.
Moreover, this first interpersonal meeting among Quad countries marks a watershed moment for the QUAD and bears momentous implications for the future of QUAD. This meeting comes against the backdrop of intense rivalry between China and other Quad countries and therefore will be instrumental in charting future procedures of allies in countering China. In the wake of a foolhardy withdrawal from Afghanistan, this meeting offers the president to reassert his commitment in the multilateral cooperation and vigorous engagement with "like-minded" countries to counter the shared threats.
Besides, this meeting will be reassuring for other Quad members such as Japan, India and Australia who has hostile relations with China. Furthermore, this meeting will be a new beginning of Quad countries on more intense security issues and also provide an impetus to cooperation in ensuring the stability of critical supply chain.
The writer is student, Department of International Relations,
University of Dhaka