Highlights

  • Quad nations meet for 2nd in-person meeting
  • Rollout of benefits to Indo-Pacific region
  • Bid to counter China's influence in the region

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Decoded | Quad Summit 2022: Can the Quad counter China in the Indo Pacific?

The Quad nations met for only their 2nd in-person meeting in Tokyo. On the agenda was a rollout of benefits to the Indo-Pacific region, in a bid to counter China's influence.

PM Modi met the leaders of Australia, Japan, and United States at the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, meeting in Tokyo. This was only the second in-person meeting of the Quad, which has been seen by some as a vehicle for the US to counter China’s influence in the Asia and Indo-Pacific region, with the help of like-minded nations.

This Quad meeting was held in the shadow of the Ukraine-Russia war, which has shaken up the world order, and reshaped global politics. The US has deeply engaged in the war, and has committed $54 billion to the effort.

There is some tension within the Quad over the war as well. Australia, Japan, and US all unequivocally stand against Russia’s aggression, while India’s position is one of studied neutrality, which calls for peace and respect for territorial sovereignty, but stops short of criticising Russia.

Also Read: Joe Biden at Quad summit: Putin trying to extinguish a culture

The Quad, however, remains primarily an alliance for like-minded nations to counter China’s influence. China does not find mention in any official Quad statement, but the four nations are banded together by the shared interest of creating a strategic balance of power in the Indo-Pacific, free from China’s aims of expansion and subversion of the international order. Beijing has branded the Quad an ‘anti-China alliance’.

While all four countries are united in wanting to counter China’s influence, the nature of the threat is different. While for the US and Australia, the Chinese threat is mainly about trade and the sovereignty of Taiwan, Japan and India face Chinese claims to territory. India is also facing Chinese economic overtures to its neighbours Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

Also Read: Quad 2002: North Korea fires three missiles after Joe Biden leaves Japan

In a statement after the meeting, the four nations also announced co-operative measures including a Quad Fellowship programme, which will sponsor a 100 students every year to pursue graduate degrees in STEM fields in the United States. They also pledged $5.2 billion to the COVAX vaccination initiative, recognised the urgent need to address climate change, and recognised the importance of combating the financing of terrorism. The Quad also pledged $50 billion to improve infrastructure across the Indo-Pacific region.

On the sidelines, Prime Minister Modi also held bilateral talks with US President Joe Biden, Japanese PM Fumio Kishida, and held his first in-person meeting with newly-elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. PM Modi complimented Albanese on his commitment to the Quad, for being present at the summit just a day after being sworn into office. The two leaders held ‘fruitful’ discussions, and affirmed their desire to continue the positive momentum in the bilateral relationship. Australia is set to host the next Quad summit in 2023.

China and Russia certainly took note of the Quad meeting in their backyard, as jets from both countries carried out joint flights over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea as the meeting occurred in Tokyo. Japan’s defence minister called the move provocative, and expressed grave concern over the exercise.

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