Search 13th March, 2021 Spotlight here: http://www.newsonair.com/Main_Audio_Bulletins_Search.aspx
Topic: General Studies 2:
- Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- The grouping’s informal origins can be traced to 2004.
- In the wake of the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami, Australia, India, Japan and the US launched an ad-hoc humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) mission, which allowed them to come together operationally. Since then the four navies have worked together on several occasions.
- The Quad was formally initiated in 2007 at the prompting of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.
- Formal Quad meetings were not possible following strong objections from China in 2007.
- In 2020, all four QUAD Countries – Japan, India, Australia and the USA took part in the Malabar exercise. Malabar exercise is an annual trilateral naval exercise between the navies of India, Japan, and the USA which is held alternately in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
How has the grouping evolved over time?
- Initial Reluctance: India’s involvement with the Quad was initially cautious due to its reluctance to join an overt anti-China coalition.
- Expanded the scope: Since November 2017, the joint naval exercises of Quad members are being supplemented by extensive consultations on security issues.
- Elevation to Ministerial level: In September 2019, India agreed to elevate the Quad platform to ministerial level.
- Possibility of Summit level: It is reported Quad would soon meet at summit level in 2021 thus signalling the importance attached to this grouping by the US administration.
During the QUAD meeting
During the first-ever virtual summit on Friday, QUAD ((Quadrilateral Framework) leaders discussed regional and global issues of shared interest, and exchange views on practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
A. The Quad Vaccine Partnership
While ensuring that vaccines have been made available to our people, “Quad” partners will launch a landmark partnership to further accelerate the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Together, Quad leaders are taking shared action necessary to expand safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing in 2021, and will work together to strengthen and assist countries in the Indo-Pacific with vaccination, in close coordination with the existing relevant multilateral mechanisms including WHO and COVAX.
- Drawing on each of their strengths, they will tackle this complex issue with multi-sectoral cooperation across many stages of action, starting with ensuring global availability of safe and effective vaccines.
- Quad partners are working collaboratively to achieve expanded manufacturing of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines at facilities in India, prioritizing increased capacity for vaccines authorized by Stringent Regulatory Authorities (SRA).
- Quad partners will address financing and logistical demands for production, procurement, and delivery of safe and effective vaccines. They will work to use our shared tools and expertise, through mechanisms at institutions including the United States Development Finance Corporation (DFC), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and, as appropriate, Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC), as well as others.
What role will all four countries play?
Australia will contribute US$77 million for the provision of vaccines and “last-mile” delivery support with a focus on Southeast Asia, in addition to its existing commitment of US$407 million for regional vaccine access and health security which will provide full vaccine coverage to nine Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste, and support procurement, prepare for vaccine delivery, and strengthen health systems in Southeast Asia.
Japan will assist vaccination programs of developing countries such as the purchase of vaccines and cold-chain support including through provision of grant aid of $41 million and new concessional yen loans, ensuring alignment with and support of COVAX.
The United States will leverage existing programs to further boost vaccination capability, drawing on at least $100 million in regional efforts focused on immunization.
This commitment will be implemented by the launch of a senior-level Quad Vaccine Experts Group, comprised of top scientists and officials from our governments. This group will support Quad cooperation in the long term, and use science and evidence to:
- Design an implementation plan for the Quad COVID-19 vaccine effort;
- Identify hurdles impeding vaccine administration in the region;
- Work with financers and production facilities to monitor timely and sufficient capacity expansion that will lead to wider distribution of safe and effective vaccines;
- Share governmental plans to support Indo-Pacific health security and Covid-19 response, and identify practical cooperation on “last-mile” delivery for hard-to-reach communities in need;
- Strengthen and support the life-saving work of international organizations, including the WHO, COVAX, Gavi, CEPI, UNICEF, the G7, ASEAN, and governments, and call on other countries to do the same;
- Make additional concrete recommendations before the end of the year.
B. The Quad Climate Working Group
The climate challenge has been identified as a priority for the Quad and the Indo-Pacific region. They will establish a new Quad Climate Working Group focused on:
- Cooperation, both among ourselves and with other countries, to strengthen implementation of the Paris Agreement, including to keep a Paris-aligned temperature limit within reach
- Working together and with other countries to support, strengthen, and enhance actions globally;
- Committing to advancing low-emissions technology solutions to support emissions reduction;
- Cooperation on climate mitigation, adaptation, resilience, technology, capacity-building, and climate finance
C. The Quad Critical and Emerging Technology Working Group
Quad leaders recognize that a free, open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific requires that critical and emerging technology is governed and operates according to shared interests and values. In that spirit, they will convene a Critical and Emerging Technology Working Group, which will:
- Develop a statement of principles on technology design, development, and use;
- Facilitate coordination on technology standards development, including between our national technology standards bodies and working with a broad range of partners;
- Encourage cooperation on telecommunications deployment, diversification of equipment suppliers, and future telecommunications, including through close cooperation with our private sectors and industry;
- Facilitate cooperation to monitor trends and opportunities related to developments in critical and emerging technology, including biotechnology;
- Convene dialogues on critical technology supply chains.
India’s engagement with QUAD
- China’s action: India’s engagement with the Quad goes back to China’s expanding footprint in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Region over the last few years. China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative was viewed as encroachments into India’s strategic space.
- India’s reaction: India responded with an upgradation of its naval capabilities and enhancement of ties with the Indian Ocean Region littoral states and other major powers in the region.
- Shared Concern with USA: Largely as a result of their shared concerns relating to the rise of China, India has been deepening its security ties with the U.S. focused on interoperability of defence equipment and training based on defence purchases, frequent land and sea exercises.
Concerns for India
- Pulled into ambit of Indo-Pacific: The U.S.’s focus on the west Pacific due to aggressive Chinese maritime activity gradually pulled India into the ambit of the Indo-Pacific that views the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean as an integrated geopolitical space.
- India’s Security concerns ignored: By affiliating with the U.S.-led maritime coalition, India ignored the principal areas of its security concerns in northern borders. Recently with border clashes, China has given India a rude reminder that India’s security concerns lie in its northern borders, not the west Pacific.
- Divergence with US: New Delhi and Washington see eye to eye on maritime strategy, but not on what to do on the Asian mainland.
- Structural Issues due to QUAD’s pivot to US: The Quad has a core structural problem as well in that it pivots around the U.S. The U.S. is a super-power with global interests, but it is also self-centred in defining and pursuing its interests, even as its policies experience major shifts due to government change or domestic lobbies
- Doesn’t have strategic vision: Despite rhetoric relating to the promotion of a ‘rules-based’ world order (the rules being most frequently violated by the U.S. itself), the Quad neither shares a strategic vision nor is it animated by a shared agenda.
Connecting the dots:
- China’s Belt and Road Initiative
- Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
- The Quad offers a great opportunity for reforming China-centred economic globalisation. Comment.