UPSC Mains General Studies Paper – 2 Mains 2020Bilateral, regional, and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Decoding the Question
- In Introduction, try to mention briefly about the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD).
- In Body,
- Highlight rationale for QUAD as a Trade Bloc.
- Write about Trade related initiatives of the QUAD.
- Challenges to overcome.
- In Conclusion, try to suggest the implementation of QUAD objectives.
The Quad intends on preserving the status quo of ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ considering China’s assertive policies involving unseen dimensions and increasing blue water aspirations.. The grouping was conceived as a space to cooperate for safeguarding joint security and other interests in the Indo-Pacific region. It is mainly thought of in military terms but with changing times and post-Covid scenario, there are possibilities of this becoming a trade bloc.
Trade Related Initiatives of the QUAD:
- India-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI): The IPOI is an open, non-treaty-based global initiative that aims at practical cooperation in seven thematic areas which also include Maritime Resources; Capacity Building and Resource Sharing; Science, and Trade Connectivity and Maritime Transport. Australia and Japan have agreed to lead IPOI pillars on Maritime Ecology and Connectivity respectively.
- Free and Open Indo Pacific (FOIP): Japan’s FOIP builds around ‘two continents’, Asia and Africa, and ‘two oceans’, Pacific and Indian. Japanese FOIP endorses cooperation with countries who share the common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
- Blue Dot Network: It is a multi-stakeholder initiative led by the USA 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).
- Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI): Japan mooted the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) as a trilateral approach to trade, with India and Australia as the key-partners. SCRI is a direct response to individual companies and economies concerned about Chinese political behaviour and the disruption that could lead to the supply chain.
Challenges to overcome:
- Integration: All the trade associated initiatives launched by the Quad nations are independent. A joint force in the domain of trade and economy is the need of the hour.
- Lack of Cooperation: So far, the Quad nations have not been able to sort out their trade related differences. For example, India still does not have a free trade agreement with Australia and the USA.
- Clarity in Vision: Indo Pacific vision needs to be explained by the nations, in an overarching framework with the objective of facilitating everyone’s economic and security interests. There is a need to put military components and economy components together for a holistic performance.
- 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 kind of a military alliance.
Challenges to India:
India needs a firm strategic footing in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region. However, for India, pursuing such interest won’t be easy as it is a member of forums like the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, BRICS and Russia India China (RIC) having opposite resolutions and objects to the Quad; though the U.S., Japan and Australia are tied by military alliances, unlike India.
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. However, there is a need to put the military component and the economic component together.
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