Known as the 'Quadrilateral Security Dialogue' (QSD), the Quad is an informal strategic forum comprising four nations, namely -- United States of America (USA), India, Australia and Japan. One of the primary objectives of the Quad is to work for a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
The group met for the first time in 2007 on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). It is considered an alliance of maritime democracies, and the forum is maintained by meetings, semi-regular summits, information exchanges and military drills of all the member countries.
Formation of QUAD
Since its establishment in 2007, the representatives for the four-member nations have met periodically. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the first to pitch the idea for the formation of Quad in 2007.
In fact, its origins can be traced back to the evolution of Exercise Malabar and the 2004 Tsunami when India conducted relief and rescue operations for itself and neighbouring countries and was later joined by the US, Japan and Australia. Therefore, China issued formal diplomatic protests to the members of the Quad.
However, Australia withdrew from the forum due to the political pressure from the Chinese government and in the wake of the growing conflict between the US and China in the Asia-Pacific region. In 2010, enhanced military cooperation between the US and Australia was resumed, leading to Australia's comeback to the Quad's naval exercises.
In 2012, the Japanese PM emphasised the idea of Asia’s 'Democratic Security Diamond' comprising the US, Japan, India and Australia. It was in 2017 when the first official talks under the Quad took place in the Philippines.
Principles of Quad
The motive behind the Quad is to keep the strategic sea routes in the Indo-Pacific free of any military or political influence. It is basically seen as a strategic grouping to reduce Chinese domination. The core objective of the Quad is to secure a rules-based global order, freedom of navigation and a liberal trading system. The coalition also aims to offer alternative debt financing for nations in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Quad leaders exchange views on contemporary global issues such as critical and emerging technologies, connectivity and infrastructure, cyber security, maritime security, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, climate change, pandemic and education.
Significance of Quad for India
It is believed that the forum strategically counters China’s economic and military rise. Interestingly, if Chinese hostilities rise on the borders, India can take the support of the other Quad nations to counter the communist nation. In addition, India can even take the help of its naval front and conduct strategic explorations in the Indo-Pacific region.
Quad Summit in 2022
The leaders of the Quad nations met on May 24, 2022 in Tokyo for the fourth time and the second time in person. The Quad summit witnessed the launch of a new initiative for continuous collaboration in the maritime domain, space, climate change, health, and cyber security.
During the Quad summit, the member countries pledged to meet challenges for ensuring rules-based maritime order, including in the East and South China Seas, and strongly opposed any coercive, provocative, or unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo.
Quad member countries have agreed to hold the next in-person Summit in 2023, which will be hosted by Australia.
Quad Summit in 2023