A virtual meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue members was held on Friday, 12 March. The main reason for the meeting was China’s rising military and economic might. The Quad members are concerned about China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region and the world.
All the Quad members have a common agenda and that is to curtail China. Conflicts with China on various issues have forced the US, Japan, India, and Australia to form a joint front against the country.
Currently, Japan has many disputes with China which includes China’s claim over Japan’s Senkaku Island. Sino’s cordial relation with North Korea is also an irritant between both states’ warm relations.
Furthermore, China’s new coast guard law has added fuel to the fire. Japan imports 90 per cent of its energy through the sea, therefore the rising control of China in the Indo-Pacific region has put Japan in fear, which instigated it to revive the moribund Quad.
Why did India and Australia join the Quad?
Talking about India’s motives behind joining the Quad, who is even unaware of the Sino-India rivalry? Even both states have fought a conventional war in 1963. They have many disputes, which kept the relations frosty between both states.
Recently, during border skirmishes between both rivals in the Ladakh area, nearly twenty Indian soldiers and four Chinese died. Another important dispute is about water. China has started the construction of the world’s biggest hydroelectric dam in Tibet, which has raised the alarm bells in India.
Moreover, India does not have cordial relations with all neighbours, whereas, China enjoys good relations with neighbours surrounding India, and its economy is also flourishing rapidly. Therefore India joined Quad to compete, and restrict her old rival, China.
Now we come to Australia. A few years back, Australia had good relations with China. Even Australia withdrew from the Quad because of China in 2008 but things changed with the passage of time.
Although China is now Australia’s largest trading partner, the relations between both countries began to deteriorate in 2018. Growing China’s influence in Australia’s politics and its stance on the South China Sea made the relations bitter.
The emergence of Covid-19 made things even worse. Moreover, the US pressure forced Australia to join the front against China. Thus, Australia became an active member of the Quad.
Read more: US and Australia unite against China
The US and its shattered confidence
If we talk about the United States, the country is worried about its sole leadership on the international spectrum. After the end of the Cold War, the US emerged as the sole superpower. But the emergence of a nation from behind the wall has shaken the US dominating unipolar order.
The changing power dynamics have compelled Uncle Sam to struggle for maintaining his position on the international platform. Now, the country which was the flag bearer of free trade is now restricting it. The state which was against a controlled economy imposed tariffs on different Chinese products to confront rising China.
It is rightly said, “Ideology is for cannon fodder at the top of international relations, realpolitik rules.” Thus, the herald of the free market closed its own markets for China. However, not only the trade war started, but the US also shifted its policy from Asia-Pacific to Indo-Pacific.
The revival of Quad and its meetings are one of the manifestations of the US changing policy in Asia. All possible steps are being taken to restrict China.
In his recent press conference Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State along with his Japanese counterpart targeted China during a joint press conference.
He said, “China uses coercion and aggression to systematically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undercut democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet and assert maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law.” It shows desperation.
Instead of stopping Israel to end the persecution of Palestinians, terminating arms sale to Saudi Arabia which is causing deaths of vulnerable Yemenis, forcing India to give the right of self-determination to Kashmiris, and ending illegal interference in different countries all over the world, the United States is bullying China.
China and US should work together
Established to deal with earthquake and tsunami, the Quad has been shifted to curtail rising China. It shows how priorities have been changed. Rather than empowering and strengthening the regional organisation e.g. ASEAN, SAARC and SCO, the Quad has been made with only one agenda and that is a confrontation that has put peace at stake.
Instead of bringing peace and prosperity to this region, the US is performing a leading role to throw this region into the abyss of instability after causing the deaths of millions and the destruction of billions in the Middle East. Exchanges between the governments should be to create mutual understandings not to target the third parties.
This century is a century of global connectivity. China is actively working to connect the globe through a system of land and maritime routes. By spending billions, China is building bridges whereas, the old globalists led by the West, are working to divide the world.
They are busy with the creation of blocks and barriers. In the century of investment, cooperation and trade they are trying to restrict the progress of the Asian countries which is linked to China.
According to the report of an Asian development bank, “Asia faces an infrastructure funding gap of an estimated USD 26 trillion through 2030.” China is fulfilling this gap through investment in almost all countries.
Therefore, instead of waging war, the international community especially the United States should join hands with China to work for the peace, progress and prosperity of the world. The Quad, which is a group of four democracies of the world should work to preserve the true essence of democratic values.
The author is a practising lawyer and human rights activist based in Lahore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.