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Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)

Why in news?

  • The first formal summit of the heads of state of the four-member group of nations known as the `Quadrilateral Security Dialogue’ (Quad) (India, the US, Japan & Australia) is a significant development.
  • This meeting is being held at the initiative of the US President Joe Biden.
  • The first Leaders Summit of the Quadrilateral Framework was held virtually on March 12, 2021.

What is Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)?

  • Quad is an informal strategic forum aimed to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.
  • It comprises of the USA, India, Japan and Australia.
  • It is rooted in the formation of “core group”, in response to Tsunami in 2004.
  • The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007.
  • However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it, apparently due to Chinese pressure.
  • The quad discontinued after the withdrawal of Australia.
  • The diplomatic relations between the four nations and the military arrangement was interpreted as a response to Chinese economic and military power.
  • Soon after this, before any formal convention of the members of the forum, the Government of China issued formal diplomatic protests to all four members of the Quadrilateral.
  • The Quadrilateral coalition was refurbished as ‘QUAD 2.0’ in 2017 on the lines of ASEAN Summit.
  • Quad meetings are taking place on a biannual basis since then but the inclusion of Australia into ‘Malabar’ naval exercise is still being discussed.
  • In December 2012, Shinzo Abe again floated the concept of Asia’s “Democratic Security Diamond” involving Australia, India, Japan and the US to safeguard the maritime commons from the Indian Ocean to the western Pacific. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)
  • 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).
  • In March 2020, the officials of the Quad met to discuss the unprecedented pandemic and were for the first time joined by New Zealand, South Korea and Vietnam.

QUAD Group Guiding Principles

  • The idea behind the QUAD Group is to keep the strategic and significant sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any influence (read Chinese influence).
  • It is seen as a strategic grouping to preempt and reduce Chinese influences.
  • The core objectives of the QUAD is to secure a rules-based global order, liberal trading system and freedom of navigation.
  • It seeks to contain a ‘rising China’ and work against its predatory trade and economic policies.
  • Another purpose of the QUAD is to offer alternative debt financing for nations in the Indo-Pacific region. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)

Significance of Quad

  • Free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large.
  • Tackle common challenges of terrorism and proliferation
  • Upholding the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific and respect for international law, freedom of navigation and overflight
  • Cooperation “to curtail DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)’s nuclear and missile programmes and unlawful acts
  • Involving the U.S. and Japan in development projects in South Asia will yield the necessary finances.

Significance for India

  • By joining the quad India has taken a significant turn in its policy for the subcontinent.
  • It will deepen India’s ties with US, Australia and Japan with benefits in diplomatic leverage and sharing of burden in defence.
  • It gives India a powerful platform to advance its interests in East Asia
  • India can coordinate strategies with powerful friends and add more strength to its Act East initiative.
  • Working with US and its allies in the Asia-Pacific will provide India significant leverage in shaping US policies in Afghanistan-Pakistan to the benefit of India.
  • The geostrategic term “Indo-Pacific” as opposed to “Asia-Pacific” has been attaining currency. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)


  • China’s Closeness to ASEAN: The ASEAN countries also have a well-knit relationship with China. The Regional Cooperation Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a recent example of China’s increasing influence over ASEAN nations.
  • Convergence among Quad Nations: The nations in the Quad grouping have different aspirations, aims at balancing their own interest. Therefore, coherence in the vision of Quad nation as a grouping is absent.
  • China’s Territorial Claims: China claims that it has historical ownership over nearly the entire region of South China Sea, which gives it the right to manufacture islands. However, the International Court of Arbitration rejected the claim in 2016.
  • Economic Power of China: Considering the economic might of China and the dependence of Quad nations like Japan and Australia on China, the Quad nations cannot afford to have strained relations with it.

Way Forward

  • The Quad will need to have a clearer vision for itself. It is important for members of the Quad not to be reactive.
  • It is also important to exhibit openness.
  • India, Japan, and Australia can take the lead in infrastructural projects.
  • The Quad should focus on building a robust regional consultation mechanism and coordinate with ASEAN nations on issues of regional importance.
  • The US needs to be more pro-active in pushing ahead the vision of connectivity.
  • The Quad framework derives its geopolitical validation from India’s association and presents a unique opportunity for India to be an active participant in shaping regional security architecture with global undertones. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad)


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