THE QUAD ALLIANCE: INCLUDING INDIA AND JAPAN ALONGSIDE THE US AND AUSTRALIA.

THE QUAD ALLIANCE: INCLUDING INDIA AND JAPAN ALONGSIDE THE US AND AUSTRALIA.

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Magazine

In a boost to US-India-Australia-Japan Quad alliance the US House of Representative has passed the "Quad Bill" with a near-unanimous vote to establish a body facilitating closer ties between the four countries. The bill was cleared by a roll call vote of 379 in favour and 39 against. The bill, officially called the `Strengthen US-Australia-India-Japan Cooperation', directs the US State Department to submit a roadmap to increase engagement with Quad Members.

Magazine

Why it matters

  • The bill seeks to foster closer collaboration between Quad members with an aim to strengthen the alliance across various cooperation areas.
  • It proposes that Biden administration must develop strategy to address cooperation on issues including (1) preparing for the next pandemic, (2) co-developing new innovative technologies, and (3) deepening economic engagement and integration.
  • Greater cooperation between Quad nations matter since the group is seen as a counterweight to China in the Indo-Pacific region. It has openly advocated for a “free and open Indo-Pacific”.

What's driving the news

The bill directs the US State Department to …

  • Submit to US Congress a strategy within 180 days of bill’s enactment to increase engagement and cooperation with the Quad
  • Enter into talks with India, Japan and Australia to establish a Quad Intra-Parliamentary Working Group within 60 days of bill’s enactment.
  • Establish a US group, with maximum 24 members of Congress, to represent America in the working group.
  • Establish guidelines for annual meetings and group leadership.
  • Submit an annual report to the Congressional foreign affairs committees.
My legislation works to ensure the Quad's success and longevity by calling on the State Department to develop a strategy on bolstering democratic coordination in the Indo-Pacific region, and establishes a Quad Intra-Parliamentary Working Group to facilitate greater engagement and cooperation among the four legislatures
- Congressman Gregory Meeks, who introduced the bill

Zoom in

The bill seeks to further define the contours of the Quad or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue at a time when China has been rapidly expanding its influence in the Indo-Pacific region. Quad is seen as a US-backed alliance to curtail Beijing’s assertiveness and check its regional ambitions. In the last few years, Quad nations have boosted cooperation by holding regular meetings and military drills. The latest military drill, known as Malabar, was held off Australia in August 2023. China has openly opposed Quad, calling it US’s effort to build “an Indo-Pacific version of Nato”.

What is Quad, dubbed the 'Asian Nato'

Initiated in 2007, Quad is an informal association of India, US, Australia, and Japan. It was formed to counter the growing might of China economically and militarily. However, it latest expanded cooperation across multiple areas. Quad ceased to exist in that form after a change of power in Australia. In 2017, the idea of Quad was revived and the leaders of Australia, Japan, US and India agreed to come together again to take on China, particularly in the South China Sea. The first leader-level Quad summit was held on March 12, 2021, and a joint statement said: “We are committed to leveraging our partnership to help the world’s most dynamic region respond to historic crisis, so that it may be the free, open, accessible, diverse, and thriving Indo-Pacific we all seek.”

What's next Besides Quad,

India and US — separately and together — have been building several alliances to boost strategic ties and challenge China’s military and economic dominance. 

  • During PM Modi’s just-concluded UAE visit, New Delhi and Abu Dhabi sealed a pact for swift operationalization of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, which aims to enhance regional connectivity and provide a formidable counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The corridor spans from India through Middle East and extends to Europe, potentially redefining strategic and economic landscape of the region.
  • India and US are also part of the I2U2 group with Israel and UAE. The group, formed in 2021, aims to boost cooperation in areas such as space, energy, food, health and water. The four-nation grouping was also termed as the “West Asia Quad” by some observers.
  • US is also part of AUKUS group with Australia and United Kingdom. The trilateral security pact was formed in September 2021 to strengthen security and defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. AUKUS is also seen as a response to China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.

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