QUAD has been thrust into the global spotlight. The four-nation alliance – comprising Japan, Australia, India, and the United States – has come under scrutiny as tensions between China and its neighbors continue to mount. Some have even gone so far as to label QUAD an “Asian NATO.” But what is QUAD, and can it be seen as a military bloc? This article will take a closer look at QUAD and its aims.
What is QUAD, and why was it formed?
QUAD stands for the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. It is an informal strategic dialogue between the four nations, established in 2007. QUAD was formed out of shared concerns about China’s rise and its implications for regional security. QUAD has taken on greater significance in recent years as tensions between China and its neighbors have risen.
QUAD’s aim is to promote stability in the Indo-Pacific region. The four countries are committed to democracy, the rule of law, and respect for international norms. QUAD is not a military alliance and does not have a formal structure or membership.
QUAD Lastest Talks
The top leaders have met four times in less than two years. The steady decline in each Quad nation’s bilateral ties with China in the past few years has given it a new push.
The factors that have led to poor relations between China and India can be traced back to when China began constructing ports in the Indian Ocean. It is suspected that China built these ports in order to surround India’s military and protect Beijing’s crucial shipping lanes that lead straight to the South China Sea. The United States has taken the lead in challenging China’s sovereignty over this waterway, where 1/3 of global shipping passes.
India and China share a border that is over 2,000 miles long. The two countries have been arguing about the border for over 80 years. They even went to war about it in 1962, ending in a deadlock that continues today. The border region is mountainous; therefore, precise boundaries are difficult to establish, and crossings are too frequent. China has deployed extra troops to the border as an indication of its growing military presence. India has accused China of conducting military drills, which it claims violates the Sino-Indian agreement.
Beijing is investing heavily in developing its navy, and the recent security agreement with the Solomon Islands has worried Australia. According to a leaked draft of the agreement – which was verified by the Australian government – Chinese warships would be allowed to dock on the islands and Beijing to deploy security forces “to assist in maintaining social order.” Japan has grown warier of what it considers “frequent intrusions” from the Chinese navy.
QUAD has several operational working groups, including cybersecurity, health, infrastructure, and education. However, they have not yet spoken about any defense cooperation. Likely, they will soon announce a joint strategy to tackle illegal fishing in the Indo-Pacific region aimed at China.
The US has formed an alliance with “like-minded” nations to halt China’s dominance in the region. Despite this, the QUAD has never outright confronted China, but they have undoubtedly perceived the message. The US Navy Admiral Philip Davidson called the QUAD the diamond of democracies in the Indo-pacific. Beijing has criticized the US policies and said it pushes a cold-war mentality.
China is the largest trade partner for all 4 members of QUAD. This gives Beijing a lot of power to make decisions affecting each country’s economy. QUAD has the military power to control the seas, but is it willing to risk economic stability to stop China’s growth?
Can QUAD be considered an Asian NATO?
While QUAD shares some similarities with NATO, there are also important differences. QUAD is not a military alliance and does not have a formal structure or membership. On the other hand, NATO is a formal military alliance with a clear hierarchy and chain of command. QUAD also does not have the same level of integration as NATO. The four countries in QUAD are at different development stages and have different priorities. As a result, QUAD is unlikely to become a formal military alliance in the near future.