The Quad (US, Japan, India, Australia Security Dialogue) : Updates and Discussions

RISING SUN

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Dec 3, 2017
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The history behind who killed the Quad​

Former ministers have a lifelong responsibility not to spread falsehoods about their own country. These, once they take root, can easily become weapons in the hands of others.

Alexander Downer committed this offence here on Monday by claiming Australia unilaterally withdrew from the “quadrilateral strategic dialogue” – a proposed mutation of the US-Japan-Australia trilateral dialogue including India – under Labor after the November 2007 election. According to Downer, Labor’s radical move was announced in Beijing. India was so shaken that Australia was punished with exclusion from Indo-US naval exercises, this well-worn Liberal meme so often goes.


History is being rewritten now the Quad is back in fashion. AAP

Unfortunately for Downer, none of this is true. The fact is his government, the Howard government, shut the door on the QSD – a fact he doesn’t want to acknowledge now that the Quad is back in fashion.

The documentary record is crystal clear, starting on July 2, 2007, when Australian officials informed Washington and Tokyo they would not accept quadrilateral defence and security arrangements. Instead, Australia would look to bilateral arrangements, according to a contemporaneous US diplomatic cable later released by WikiLeaks.

A week later, on July 9, Downer himself said India shouldn’t be admitted. “We’re looking in a more general sense at progressing the relationship with India, not collectively, each individually doing it,” he said, according to a transcript published by his own office.

Defence minister Brendan Nelson also publicly hammered this message in New Delhi and Beijing. He told the The Australian Financial Review’s John Kerin during that July 2007 tour: “I’ve explained the nature and basis of our trilateral dialogue with Japan and the US, but I have also reassured China that the so-called quadrilateral dialogue with India is not something we are pursuing.”
The truth is the Quad was ahead of its time. It is more feasible in 2021 than it ever was in 2007.

After the election, we said nothing about the Quad for months. It was only when foreign minister Stephen Smith was asked about it in Tokyo – not Beijing, Alexander – that he restated the Howard position. “We are not proposing to add to the trilateral by including India,” he said on February 1, and referred back to that answer a week later when questioned at a joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart in Canberra.
Howard was the first to dump the QSD, but he wasn’t the last. Japan’s Shinzo Abe was its driving force, and his sudden resignation in 2007 was a huge blow to its waning momentum. Abe’s successor, Yasuo Fukuda, was far more traditional in his foreign policy and much more accommodating of China – hence his later appointment to the Chinese-sponsored Boao Forum for Asia. Fukuda’s foreign minister, Masahiko Komura, reportedly wanted all mentions of Abe’s “fourth pillar of diplomacy”, including the Quad, purged from his department’s website.

‘No quad, no problem’: India​

The Americans were divided. Vice-president Dick Cheney favoured the Quad but, as the Financial Review reported at the time, George Bush was wary. Washington needed China’s support on North Korea and Iran. By the time Labor came in, the State Department was adamant that “meetings of the four countries would not take place at a ministerial or sub-ministerial level” to “avoid any impression of an effort to contain China”, another WikiLeaks cable records.

India’s Manmohan Singh was clearest. He repeatedly ruled out quadrilateral security arrangements, including during direct talks with Chinese president Hu Jintao in June 2007. He continued to reassure the Chinese and finally, on January 10, 2008, he pronounced the Quad dead. “[It] never got going,” Singh said, prioritising ties with China as an “imperative necessity”. That was three weeks before Smith spoke in Tokyo.

By the time Labor assumed power, the Quad hadn’t been formally advanced in six months. Our diplomats took the temperature of the three foreign capitals and found no interest in resurrecting it. We also worried at that time about tying Australia into an agreement that could become a mutual defence pact, given India and Japan both had toxic histories with Beijing and ongoing territorial disputes.

Was India offended by Smith’s comment? Hardly. Despite some overheated commentary from Indian think tanks, I recall no complaints from Singh or his officials. Indeed, as the US embassy in India summed it up: “New Delhi expects India-Australia relations to continue to flourish under Rudd … No Quad, no problem.”

Why then was Australia not invited to join the Malabar naval exercises after 2007? As usual, the Liberals forget that other countries have politics too. Australia’s one-off involvement in 2007 was vehemently protested by India’s influential left wing as an “imperialistic” display by Washington and its allies. Defence minister A.K. Antony subsequently announced that, as a matter of policy, the government would favour bilateral exercises in future.

Downer’s remaking of himself as a China hawk is a sight to behold. He’s come a long way since 2009, when he lashed our Defence White Paper and naval expansion plan as an “absurd” response to Chinese provocations at sea. Downer even suggested I might be too opposed to communism, and cast suspicion over a supposed Taiwanese twang in my Mandarin accent. That was before he joined the board of Huawei, excoriating Labor’s decision to ban the company from supplying the NBN.

The truth is the Quad was ahead of its time. It is more feasible in 2021 than it ever was in 2007. The Liberals in government played a central role in killing it back then. They should own that fact.

The real debate for the future of our own national security is: what role can, or should, the Quad play? Our national security challenges are not of themselves solved by the Quad, despite the emerging mantra. It is only part of a much broader and more complex equation concerning the future of American and Chinese power projection capabilities in Asia through to mid-century.
 

RISING SUN

Senior member
Dec 3, 2017
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4,264

‘Quad’ spruiks cooperation, but US/NATO militarism is still on autopilot​

23 Mar.—A combination of US foreign policy inertia, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s endless quest for post-Cold War relevance, and an Australian government desperate for a “win” to offset its mounting failures, risks accelerating our nation down the slippery slope towards war. This month’s inaugural leaders’ meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (a.k.a. “Quad”), comprising the USA, Japan, India and Australia, may have ostensibly taken a step back from the overt military “containment” strategy against China the previous US administration had promoted. But subsequent hostile actions by the USA and its allies suggest that little if anything has changed beneath the surface. NATO meanwhile continues to formalise its intention to expand from a nominally defensive alliance in the North Atlantic, to global enforcer of the “rules-based order”—purportedly the basis of so-called Western liberal democracy, but in reality merely a pseudonym for Anglo-American world rule—in which light it ever more explicitly casts China as the enemy “threat” against which it must defend. Yet it is not China but the USA and NATO, assisted, to our great shame, by Australia and other hangers-on, that have laid waste to whole countries unprovoked, and in the process shredded the international law we purport to uphold. If Australia is ever truly to secure her sovereignty, we must first face the truth: to the extent that it was ever warranted at all, the xenophobia that pervades this country has been focused on the wrong “foreigners”. Immigrants, be they from within our own Asia-Pacific neighbourhood or further afield, are not and have never been the problem. Any Australian who genuinely wants to preserve our “way of life”, and would therefore presumably wish to avoid needlessly replaying the Cold War on our own soil, with its attendant potential for devastating “hot” war and possible nuclear Armageddon, should break from the agenda of our “dangerous allies” (as the late former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser called the USA and UK), and tell the soulless, bureaucratic war machine that is NATO to go back to the North Atlantic where it came from.


‘Spirit of the Quad’?​


Quad heads of state meeting

US President Joe Biden with other “Quad” heads of state (Japan, India, Australia) in their first online meeting. Photo: AFP/Olivier Douliery
After more than 16 years of on-again, off-again, the Quad finally had its first heads of government meeting (via video conference, due to international travel restrictions) on 12 March. At the instigation of the USA’s Donald Trump Administration, the Quad was revived in 2017 after a decade of dormancy with an eye to making it the kernel of a NATO-styled alliance in the Asia-Pacific to “contain” China, as NATO did the Soviet Union during the 1946-91 Cold War. But in their joint statement issued after the meeting, entitled “The Spirit of the Quad”, the four leaders—new US President Joe Biden and Prime Ministers Yoshihide Suga of Japan, Narendra Modi of India and Scott Morrison of Australia—preferred to hark back to the Quad’s origin as what they called a “positive vision [that] arose out of an international tragedy, the [Boxing Day] tsunami of 2004”. Likewise today, they continued, “the global devastation wrought by COVID-19, the threat of climate change, and security challenges facing the region summon us with renewed purpose. On this historic occasion … we pledge to strengthen our cooperation on the defining challenges of our time.”


The statement outlines plans to “join forces to expand safe, affordable, and effective vaccine production and equitable access, to speed economic recovery and benefit global health”. To this end the Quad members pledged to “collaborate to strengthen equitable vaccine access for the Indo-Pacific, with close coordination with multilateral organisations including the World Health Organisation and COVAX [the multilateral ‘COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access’ program].” An informed US source told the Australian Alert Service that in contrast to the Trump Administration, Biden’s main focus during the summit and related meetings was not on the military situation in the region, but on countering China’s “soft power” gains made via its “Health Silk Road” program of vaccine distribution and other medical assistance. Media reports indicate that by year’s end the Quad intends to make and distribute 1 billion doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which unlike some others (including both used in Australia) needs only one instead of two doses, while its minimal refrigeration requirements make it easier to store safely and distribute to remote and/or underdeveloped locales. The vaccine will be made in India and Japan, with the USA and Australia providing logistical support.


Whilst it is to be welcomed that the Biden Administration is for once working to give the United States a PR boost by doing something actually useful, it is nonetheless clear that the Quad’s agenda remains as anti-China as ever, however much its hostility was downplayed for the public. The leaders’ statement does not mention China by name; but it is peppered with unmistakeable references to the alleged transgressions the USA and its allies routinely cite to paint China as a threat to the so-called “rules-based order” we are supposedly duty-bound to defend, by force if necessary. The Quad, we are told, will “strive for a region that is free, open, … anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion”, by “promoting a free, open rules-based order, rooted in international law, to advance security and prosperity and counter threats to both in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. We support the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity … and [will continue to] facilitate collaboration, including in maritime security, to meet challenges to the rules-based maritime order in the East and South China Seas.” (Emphasis added.)


Japan may perhaps lay claim to scrupulous adherence to international law, if only for want of another option under the pacifist constitution imposed upon it (ironically by the USA) after World War II. India’s claim is somewhat less plausible given its occupation forces’ treatment of civilians in the disputed territory of Kashmir. The USA and Australia have not a leg to stand on. The USA has overthrown dozens of governments by overt, covert and in all cases illegal means since the present system of international law was formulated (again ironically, largely by the USA itself) in the aftermath of WWII; and most damningly, both countries were co-belligerents in the completely illegal invasion and (ongoing) occupation of Iraq in 2003, justified by deliberate lies about non-existent “weapons of mass destruction”. The USA and its NATO allies also illegally bombed Yugoslavia in 1999, in order (among other objectives) to establish Kosovo as a cat’s-paw “republic” from which to continue to destabilise the Balkans; armed and provided air support for terrorist militias in Libya to overthrow and murder national leader Muammar Qaddafi, justified by fabricated “human rights abuses”, turning the richest country in Africa into a jihadist-dominated hellscape complete with openair slave markets; and tried to do the same to Syria, where even now US forces and their various proxies continue to occupy the nation’s main agricultural provinces, starve its people and steal its oil. So much for respecting international law and “territorial integrity”! By contrast, China’s last war was a border skirmish with Vietnam in 1979. It lasted one month, and only came about because Vietnam had invaded China’s then-ally Cambodia.


Go home NATO, you’re drunk​


Presumably the relatively moderate language of the Quad statement was intended to forestall potential trade or diplomatic reprisals by China against Australia, Japan and India, which all have critical trade ties with China. It does not seem to have been indicative of any goodwill on the USA’s part, given that ten days later it along with the European Union, Canada and Britain—which is to say NATO, in essence, since its European membership largely overlaps that of the EU— “slapped sanctions on China over its abuses of the Uyghur people”, the Australian Financial Review reported 23 March. “The Western allies on Monday (Tuesday AEDT) simultaneously announced travel bans and asset freezes on four senior Xinjiang officials and the Chinese region’s Public Security Bureau, the first time Brussels has imposed sanctions on China since Tiananmen Square in 1989.” (There is a pattern here: like the alleged “abuses” against Uyghurs, the socalled Tiananmen Square Massacre never happened as reported. US State Department memos published by WikiLeaks in 2011 revealed that as the Chinese government had always claimed, there was no bloodshed on the square at all, while casualties elsewhere in Beijing were the result of the authorities putting down a violent insurgency, whose lynching and burning to death of soldiers and policemen in preceding days precipitated the crackdown.) Australia did not join in the sanctions, but Foreign Minister Marise Payne and her New Zealand counterpart Nanaia Mahuta issued a joint statement in support of them. Beijing reciprocated with its own sanctions on US, British and EU officials, and pointed advice to Australia and NZ to butt out. NATO, meanwhile, is increasingly letting it all hang out. As the AAS has previously reported, the North Atlantic alliance has for some time been eyeing off the South Pacific as a new theatre of operations, intending to use the supposed “challenge” posed by China to justify a global role for itself.1 In an address last June to an online forum to launch the “NATO 2030” so-called modernisation initiative, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that “with China coming closer to us from the Arctic to cyberspace, NATO needs a more global approach”, and should work more closely with like-minded countries, specifically “Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea”—though he did, in that instance, at least emphasise non-military means of “securing peace”.


In Stoltenberg’s latest speeches, the China “threat” has been substantially upgraded. “The rise of China”, he told the Munich Security Conference on 19 February, “is a defining issue for the trans-Atlantic community, with potential consequences for our security, our prosperity and our way of life.” Complaining that China and Russia “are trying to re-write the rules of the road to benefit their own interests”, Stoltenberg insisted: “This is why NATO should deepen our relationships with close partners, like Australia and Japan, and forge new ones around the world. Only through concerted action can we encourage others to play by the rules”— which in a Freudian slip, he then referred to as “our rules, … our rules-based order”. In a 4 March speech to the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, entitled “NATO: keeping Europe safe in an uncertain world”, Stoltenberg cranked up the fear yet again, warning that whilst China is not yet a formal adversary, “it has the world’s second biggest military budget, and it does not share our values”.


A November 2020 policy paper titled NATO 2030: United for a New Era fleshes out the thinking behind Stoltenberg’s proclamations—and reveals the sheer hubris and, frankly, evil of the NATO apparatus. The alliance, it turns out, claims as its “southern neighbourhood” (or simply its “South”) a “broad geographic area including North Africa and large parts of the Middle East, extending to sub-Saharan Africa and Afghanistan.” It then laments that “large parts of the southern neighbourhood are characterised by fragility, instability, and insecurity”, that “Instability in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan continues to generate illegal migration that is felt acutely throughout Europe” (emphasis added), and that Russia and China are “exploiting” these “regional fragilities”. If NATO doesn’t like “its” South destabilised, maybe it should stop bombing, invading, occupying and sanctioning it! And the only way China has sought to “exploit” the instability NATO has caused, is to offer to help rebuild and re-stabilise those nations by bringing them aboard its Belt and Road Initiative to connect the world with the same type of transformative, high-tech infrastructure upon which China has centred its own successful efforts to lift 800 million people out of poverty in just 40 years. As for the notion that “NATO should deepen consultation and cooperation with Indo-Pacific partners Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea … [including through] engagement with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue”, so as to “seek to heighten coordination on managing the strategic and political implications of China’s rise”—after seeing what NATO has already done to its own “neighbourhood”, the thought of such a monstrosity moving into our region should prompt every self-respecting Australian to tell it to go back where it came from and stay there.
 

RISING SUN

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Dec 3, 2017
8,102
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Wanted: A Collective Risk Management Insurance Plan for the Quad​

When the top diplomats of the “Quad” security dialogue met virtually recently, it seems they had plenty to discuss. In individually released statements, Australia, India, Japan, and the United States affirmed their shared commitment to cooperating on a slew of issues—so many, in fact, that it isn’t clear how they plan to get everything done.

When the top diplomats of the “Quad” security dialogue met virtually recently, it seems they had plenty to discuss. In individually released statements, Australia, India, Japan, and the United States affirmed their shared commitment to cooperating on a slew of issues—so many, in fact, that it isn’t clear how they plan to get everything done.

Maritime security—the Quad’s original purpose—is a clear priority for the four countries, promoted under the banner of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” Yet that mantra risks dilution as the Quad adds issues like the coronavirus and climate change to its agenda. Compare it to the clarity of another transoceanic security grouping’s motto: NATO’s “collective defense.”

To tackle non-military challenges, the Quad should consider a similar rallying cry. But rather than mirroring the Atlantic, why not try something better suited for the Pacific: collective risk management?

In Search of a Metaphor
This Quad ministerial, the third since its 2017 resurrection, shows that President Joe Biden plans to keep it as a “foundation” of U.S. policy in Asia and that his three Asian counterparts are eager to play ball. That may annoy some critics, who, aware that the Quad owes its revival to growing concern over China, have likened it to an “Indo-Pacific NATO.”

But Quad members have downplayed this comparison, and with good reason: NATO’s core ethos of “collective defense,” wherein an attack on one is considered an attack on all, is a poor fit for Asia. Regional players may share common concerns, but the prospect of NATO-style collaboration brings fears like backlash from China, entrapment in unwanted conflicts, and Cold War-style picking of sides.

The Quad’s core principle is better characterized as a commitment to a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” a phrase coined by Japan in 2016 and since adopted by others. Yet this principle, encompassing freedom of navigation, trade, and more, has been criticized for vagueness. The administrations of Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and former President Donald Trump, for example, could not agree on whether it was aimed at China.

With the Quad embracing an ever-wider range of priorities, it needs a concrete anchor to tie it down. For that, it could turn to another metaphor—not NATO, but Geico, the insurance company. Rather than “collective defense,” intra-Asian security cooperation could be built around collective risk management, aiming to mitigate transnational risks or spread them across like-minded partners.

This change of metaphor would be more than mere pedantry. Collective defense presumes a common enemy that allies must rally their military resources against. Conversely, collective risk management assumes shared dependencies in economic, technological, and other realms that can’t always be fought off with tanks and guns.

This might permit closer ties with “Quad Plus” countries like South Korea and Vietnam, who are wary of overtly opposing China, but keen to tackle shared challenges. With friends, the Quad could spin off an institution—call it the Indo-Pacific Risk Management Council—to coordinate efforts on all manner of non-military security issues. The price of admission? Support for an open, rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region.

True, the council’s non-military nature means the Quad would have to continue deepening military cooperation on its own. Yet this framework could provide both incentive and cover for greater regional collaboration, and bolster Asia against other threats.

Coercion, Compromise, Contagion
The council would certainly have its hands full: Asia faces several distinct risks, for which the pandemic-stricken world provides some convenient examples. It is most obviously mid-contagion—rife not just with the coronavirus, but other cascading, compounding outbreaks, like ransomware attacks on hospitals or the financial panic of last March.

Contagions, though, are not the only risk. Late last year, China barred billions of dollars of Australian exports, a ramp-up of earlier trade restrictions that PM Scott Morrison termed “coercion.” And countries like Japan and Singapore have limited Huawei’s role in their 5G infrastructure, concerned that it could be used to compromise their supply chains.

Some of these risks stem from China. Some do not. But collective risk management would do well to focus on the risks over the actors, for reasons both diplomatic and practical. After all, the most successful coronavirus responses, like Vietnam’s or Taiwan’s, have come from countries that asked “how will China shape this risk?” instead of “will this help China win?”

Risk management also suggests a fuller, longer-term picture of the challenges that Asia faces. It encourages policymakers to angle for acceptable levels of risk, rather than throw resources at an unquenchable survival anxiety. It implies trade diversification, rather than tariffs; supply chain risk management, rather than tearing out every Chinese-manufactured part.

Put another way: we eliminate threats, but we manage risks. Barring a general and catastrophic nuclear war, China will not go away anytime soon. It is up to the United States, its allies, and partners to decide how they want to cope with that.

More Than an Empty Frame
Even if NATO’s core framework serves the Quad poorly, it still has some lessons to share. Like Europe, national capabilities and interests vary widely across Asia, which would hamper any framework’s implementation.

To solve that, the council could borrow from NATO’s Centers of Excellence, or COEs.

NATO’s COEs are the potluck lunch of the alliance, letting member states show off their signature dish while splitting the cost. Member states selectively fund chosen COEs, training personnel and developing doctrines in their distinctive specialty. The Cooperative Cyber Defense COE is in Estonia, for example, while the Cold Weather Operations COE is in—surprise—Norway.
In Asia, COEs could help countries “burden share,” letting them flexibly decide their niche and level of contribution. A Trade Risk Mitigation COE housed in Australia could identify patterns of Chinese economic coercion and hold private sector summits, for example, while a Cyber Defense COE in Singapore could build capacity through the region. This would suit the Asia-Pacific region better than a one-size-fits-all approach.

Member states could also adopt other big-ticket items, such as an infrastructure development fund to compete with China, a “collective insurance” fund to help industries facing boycotts, or a consortium to offer secure alternatives in emerging technologies like 5G.

And at the agency-to-agency level, they could share intelligence on early-warning crisis indicators (e.g. upticks in respiratory symptoms), war-game crisis responses, or map out supply chain bottlenecks. These regular contacts could pave the way for smoother teamwork when the next crisis hits—be that a cyber espionage campaign, a trade war, or a pandemic.

An Appetite for Risk (Management)
Quad members have already shown interest in cooperation on some of these fronts, such as in Australia, India, and Japan’s joint call to improve supply chain resilience. But cooperation is not guaranteed, and mutual distrust could make for some awkward conversations.

Would South Korea support a boycott bailout fund covering Japanese firms against South Korean citizens’ actions? Would Japan help South Korea manage supply chain risk, after having restricted key exports in 2019? Council members will have to trust that disagreement in some places does not preclude cooperation elsewhere, and hope that the overall benefits of participation can persuade countries to go along with things they would not otherwise.

Across the Pacific, DC-based policymakers might instead quip that this framework has no deterrent power against China. This is fair: against armed conflict in the maritime domain, risk management will not do. But this is also why the Risk Management Council would complement the Quad, not substitute for it. Putting these issues on a separate track would allow the Quad greater clarity of purpose.

Moreover, risk management is not purely ornamental. It insulates allied militaries from interference, ensuring they can operate unhindered by pressure elsewhere. It was Chinese economic coercion, after all, that torpedoed South Korea’s missile defense ambitions, and it is Huawei’s 5G deployments that threaten operational security.

An Indo-Pacific Risk Management Council would guard against that and would be valuable for its own sake. As the region’s GDP grows, so will its interdependencies, but by working jointly, leaders can ward off catastrophic failure, keeping Asia resilient and stable.

The success of so many Asia-Pacific governments in the face of the coronavirus demonstrates what they each can do individually. Let’s see what they can pull off together.
Shaun Ee, a nonresident fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.
 

RISING SUN

Senior member
Dec 3, 2017
8,102
4,264

A road map for the Quad​

The People's Republic of China is engaging in a relentless military buildup that poses a serious security threat to the U.S. and its allies and friends in the Indo-Pacific region. In order to deter or if necessary prevail against Chinese military aggression, it is essential that the U.S. not only enhance its own regional military capabilities but that U.S. allies and friends in the Asian region increase their own capabilities and enhance their security cooperation with the U.S.

For this purpose, the U.S. should utilize to the fullest extent possible the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (known as the “Quad”), an informal regional multilateral structure composed of the U.S., Japan, Australia and India. Established originally as a Japanese initiative, the Quad has met irregularly over the years but without any meaningful security-related activities.

The Quad can act as a military force multiplier enhancing the combined regional military capabilities of key Asian nations as well as the U.S. Such strengthened security cooperation can also signal that the Quad’s Asian members are prepared to respond to China’s military challenge.

While an “Asian NATO” as such is not practical for various reasons, the Quad can instead adopt a NATO-like model and develop and implement strengthened multilateral security cooperation through a series of phases.

In the first phase, the Quad should establish regular contact among political and military officials, share regional threat assessments and compare approaches for combating terrorism and cyber attacks. The Quad can also organize multilateral search and rescue and disaster relief exercises which can provide useful preparation for subsequent regular military-related training.

The second phase should develop a broader Quad political-military dimension which can include ambassadorial-level representatives convening regularly to discuss security issues of concern to any member. The Quad can also agree on specific missions for the organization, such as supporting freedom of navigation and maritime security and the protection of internationally-recognized sea and land borders.

A third phase can implement increased military cooperation. The Quad can agree to annual reviews of each member's military-related capabilities and identify resources for potential use in common military-related actions. Quad militaries can also engage in regularly-scheduled joint-training exercises and freedom-of-the-seas naval missions including in areas wrongly claimed by China.

The Quad could then implement a fourth phase that would establish a more formal security framework. This phase would include a permanent headquarters structure with a multinational military and political staff; and it would also initiate strengthened military coordination. Such cooperation can include the conducting of naval military exercises in disputed Asian waters, identifying key logistics facilities for potential use and possible opportunities for developing weapons systems interoperability.

The Quad should also develop formal or informal security relationships with other Asian region nations that share its concerns about China. This effort can include “capacity-building” programs to strengthen military capabilities of smaller Asian nations with shared concerns and the identification of logistics facilities that might be made available if needed, as Sweden did for NATO during the Cold War. Finally, the Quad can establish a formal relationship with NATO itself and share security perspectives regarding China.

Quad security cooperation should be enhanced in phases in order to permit the calibration of its responses to the nature and extent of China’s behavior. Such a phased approach will also allow India, which has been cautious about its Quad involvement, to over time ratchet up its security relationship with the Quad. In this regard, India’s participation in the recent Quad-organized massive Asian regional vaccine distribution initiative, while non-military in nature, is a promising sign of a more active Indian role.

Given the combined resources and capabilities of its members, the Quad has the potential to become a key instrument for the protection of U.S. security interests, as well as those of U.S. allies and friends in the Indo-Pacific. The Quad can both serve as a deterrent to potential aggression from China, thereby making conflict less likely, and should conflict occur can help ensure a successful outcome for the U.S.

For these reasons Japan, Australia, India, and the U.S. should move forward soon to make the Quad a permanent and effective mechanism for Indo-Pacific multilateral security cooperation.
Bruce Weinrod is an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a Washington DC attorney. As an appointee of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, he served as the defense Advisor to the U.S. mission at NATO and he served as the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy for secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. As a Japan Society fellow, he spent several months in Asia researching regional security issues.
The Quad must go to space
A historic first meeting of the leaders of the countries of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue took place last month, albeit via video link, when Prime Minister Scott Morrison, US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks. On the agenda were a range of security issues, including how best to respond to an assertive China, the need to work together on responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and the necessity of coordinated responses to the long-term challenge posed by climate change.


One item that should have been on the agenda is closer cooperation on space policy. It was a missed opportunity, given that all four countries are space powers and have a mutual interest in security and stability in the space domain. So, what should the Quad states do in space?


First, the Quad states should support the UK-sponsored resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 7 December. Resolution 75/36 seeks to establish new ‘norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours’ that reduce the ‘risks of misunderstanding and miscalculations with respect to outer space’.


There are no guarantees that greater effort in elucidating ‘norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviour’ will lead to new legal and regulatory arrangements that all states will follow. China and Russia are moving rapidly to develop a full suite of counter-space capabilities, and India tested an anti-satellite weapon, or ASAT, in 2019. So, there’s a challenge here given that Western democracies are concerned about the threat from adversaries developing ASATs but are seeking to cooperate with India when it’s doing the same thing.


The best response to the ASAT threat is to strengthen international cooperation to place diplomatic pressure on Beijing and Moscow, and work with New Delhi to find alternative approaches to space security while strengthening credible deterrence in space. The enhanced legal frameworks that resolution 75/36 could bring about are just such an outcome. Quad members should support 75/36 and work together to strengthen the legal basis for space diplomacy and regulatory structures that reduce the risk of misunderstanding and constrain opportunities for malicious activity in space.


Second, efforts towards more effective norms of behaviour must be integrated with greater space resilience in the face of emerging threats. Resilience will reinforce deterrence in space, which will make the use of ASATs less likely. This effort must be led with greater cooperation on developing exquisite space domain awareness, or SDA, which seeks awareness of activities in space by states and non-state actors, such as commercial companies, to reduce the risk of misunderstandings, while strengthening attribution and denying anonymity to actors that are behaving irresponsibly. SDA will enhance our ability to manage an increasingly congested and contested space domain.


Australia’s efforts are already well known, with cooperation between Australia and the US focused on the establishment of a C-band radar and an optical space surveillance telescope at Exmouth in Western Australia under Project AIR 3029 Phase 2. Defence project JP 9360 is set to expand that capability, and there are information-sharing arrangements through the 2014 Combined Space Operations (CSpO) initiative that includes the Five Eyes, as well as France and Germany.


Achieving exquisite SDA—an ability to clearly see activities in space, from low-earth orbit (LEO) to geosynchronous orbit (GEO), on a 24/7 basis—demands technical capabilities such as networks of ground- and space-based space situational awareness sensors. Data from these sensor networks would be integrated in places such as the Australian Space Operations Centre, or AUSSpOC, which sits at the Australian Defence Force’s Headquarters Joint Operations Command.


A step forward for the Quad in space would be to bring India and Japan into the CSpO initiative, in the same way that France and Germany are members, even though they’re not Five Eyes countries. Such a move would enable greater information-sharing and strengthen Quad members’ space cooperation with Canada, New Zealand, the UK, France and Germany.


Resilience as a means to strengthen credible space deterrence isn’t just about achieving exquisite SDA. The Quad’s cooperation in space should also focus on developing resilient space architectures that embrace greater use of low-cost small satellites to spread space support across disaggregated constellations. That should be complemented by greater government support for the establishment of low-cost, responsive sovereign space-launch capabilities. Launch centres in Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory and at Whaler’s Way in South Australia would be well positioned to support the space-launch needs of Quad members. Nhulunbuy, for example, is close to the equator and thus able to offer lower cost per kilogram into orbit than other launch sites.


Finally, looking beyond the immediate ‘LEO to GEO’ near-earth environment, there are opportunities for Quad members to work together on the next great milestone in human space exploration—the return to the moon as a step towards eventual human missions to Mars. Australia already supports NASA’s Project Artemis, which aims to return US astronauts to the moon in this decade, and Japan also has agreed to participate, notably with provision of a module to the Gateway lunar-orbit platform.


Associated with the return to the moon, the Artemis Accords have been established to promote more responsible behaviour in space, and they reinforce the centrality of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. India should sign the Artemis Accords as a first step and then work with Australia, Japan and the US to develop a more ambitious program of lunar exploration.


The Australian Space Agency’s ‘Moon to Mars’ initiative promotes opportunities for Australia’s commercial space sector to directly support Project Artemis. It’s time to expand these efforts by considering how Australia, Japan, India and the US can engage in closer cooperation on and around the moon. Establishing a regular dialogue on space cooperation would chart a path for the Quad to the moon, Mars and beyond in coming decades.
 
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RISING SUN

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Commentary: The Quad has a plan and it’s not all about China​

NEW DEHLI: It was war — a war of words in Alaska, as United States and China sat down to talk for the first time in March under the Joe Biden administration.

For those tracking US-China relations outside the states, any expectations of a reset in ties have been buried, while the shock is yet to wear off.

It was quite the show—negotiations cheekily dubbed “Anchor-rage” by media and twitter commentators alike.

The strategic messaging for the global audience was clear - the Biden administration was intent on calling China out for its unrestricted unilateralism, while an unapologetic Beijing confident of its stride to the global centre stage was very derisive in its assessment of Washington’s “decline”.

The plummeting Sino-US ties impact all geographies and for those watching closely this did not come as a surprise though it may have made strategic options clearer.

THE QUAD IS MOVING FORWARD

Juxtapose this with the contrasting images that came out from the much talked about Quad Summit held virtually just before the Alaska meeting. Indian Prime Minister Modi, called the summit “a coming of age of the Quad".

A joint statement from leaders of United States, India, Japan and Australia — speaking of their shared vision for the Indo-Pacific, signified a realisation that managing the many disruptive challenges in the post pandemic global order including that of a new, rising superpower will require collective action.

Following the summit of the Quad, Biden’s Secretaries of State and Defense are due to make their first international trips - to Japan, South Korea, and India. (Photo: AP)

This could only happen if all sides built on each other’s strengths. Capacity-building would be the thrust of the agenda. The mandate would be to sharpen collective aims, set timeframes and avoid duplication of effort.

Practically, these efforts would identify collective challenges and tackle them through concrete workplans and activities via multilateral channels under the ambit of the Quad.

In fact, it’s the formation of the Quad Vaccine Partnership, the Quad Vaccine Experts Group, the Quad Climate Working Group and the Quad Critical and Emerging Technology Working Group, which shows the grouping has gone beyond being an “anti-china talk shop”.

The pledge that the four nations have taken to supply up to 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the Association of Southehinast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and countries in the wider Indo-Pacific region by the end of 2022 that plans to engage Indian manufacturing, Australian logistics and financing from Japan and the US is a credible demonstration of “this is what the Quad can do for you”.

Moreover from the Quad nations point of view, it showcases its commitment to ASEAN nations in the larger Indo-Pacific vision is not just empty rhetoric that panders to the slogan of ASEAN centrality.

REAL BENEFITS FOR OTHER COUNTRIES

The joint statement while pegging maritime security central to its agenda also stresses on expanded focus on health, climate change, cyber space, critical technologies, counter-terrorism, quality infrastructure investment, and humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief.

It’s reflective that Quad countries have internalised the understanding that while divergences can be managed, synergising individual approaches for delivering solutions to global challenges is the need of the hour.

The message being reinforced time and again in meetings among the Quad countries in various permutations and combinations seems to be — an acknowledgement that the group is willing to institutionalise networks of partnership which go beyond addressing just the China challenge and truly benefit countries in the Indo-Pacific.

A WORK IN PROGRESS

This isn’t a sudden development, but a work in progress.

Blinken and Austin are in Asia after a key summit between leaders of the Quad alliance, which groups the US, Australia, Japan and India. (Photo: AFP/Kiyoshi Ota)

Over the last few years there has been an emergence of a crisscrossing of networks in the Indo-Pacific region giving rise to the institutionalisation of a series of small, inter-government groupings (mini laterals)which are focused on specific outcomes on trade, technology, connectivity, third country cooperation on quick impact projects and deepening security cooperation.

Recall that during the peak of the pandemic, a Quad-led dialogue, loosely addressed as the Quad plus - with countries like Vietnam, South Korea, New Zealand was also convened to coordinate pandemic recovery.

The traction for issue-based coalitions is growing. If we take the case of India alone, and other groupings including various permutations of cooperation, including India-France-Australia, India-France-Japan and more along with India’s pursuit of national security advisor level talks with Maldives and Sri Lanka — these are all part of an emerging landscape.

The Resilient Supply Chains initiative between Japan India and Australia aims to rewire global supply chains to be less dependent on China.

France, India and Japan have been putting their heads together to develop multilateral norms for the digital economy.

France is also a key partner of the India led International Solar Alliance of 121 countries which aims to mobilise over US$1 trillion of investment for the deployment of solar energy at affordable costs and has been working towards providing electricity to some member countries to power cold storages for vaccines in the wake of COVID-19.

Similarly, Japan is bringing its core competencies to take the lead in developing the connectivity pillar of the India-proposed Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative, which engages with its Indo-Pacific partners at bilateral and multilateral levels in key spheres including maritime security, Blue Economy, maritime connectivity, disaster management, and capacity-building.

PUTTING THE BLUEPRINT INTO ACTION

These are just a few examples, but it's clear the blueprint for delivering results in the Indo-Pacific is certainly being put into action.

The groundwork might be gathering momentum but countries leading the charge are aware of the challenges ahead. As China ups its stake for global leadership, the turbulent waters of the Indo-Pacific will continue to be the focal point for strategic competition.

Expectations on future burden-sharing arrangements in the region will require leading powers to show up more, provide credible signals of political will and demonstrate capability. Issue-based coalitions where function not form drive engagement will continue to be the way forward.

India participates in Quad exercises in November 2020. (Photo: AP)

This week, India has joined its Quad partners - Australia, Japan and the US - in a French-led naval drill in the Bay of Bengal for the first time to improve Indo-Pacific maritime security.

While the security logic to the Indo-Pacific was always clear, the Quad’s multi-arena capacity building attempts are a sign that the socio-economic logic to the Indo-Pacific is also being ironed out now.

The Quad showed up, now it will have to deliver on its chosen mandate.

Shruti Pandalai is a Fellow at The Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses tracking India’s Foreign and Security Policy including sharp power competition in the Indo Pacific.
 

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Barry O’Farrell: ‘Power and wealth shifting from Atlantic… Quad not an Indo-Pacific UN… nations will determine own positions’​

The Australian High Commissioner says China’s “change of attitude” created “extra incentive” for Quad, insists both countries are set to have “another go” at FTA, and explains why he is “impressed” with Prime Minister Modi’s reform agenda. The session was moderated by Deputy Chief of National Bureau Shubhajit Roy.

SHUBHAJIT ROY: How did the first Quad summit involving the US, India, Australia and Japan come about last month? It seemed to have come together quite quickly after US President Joe Biden took charge.
I think it came together pretty quickly after the inauguration (of Biden) for a variety of reasons. Clearly, the US administration wanted to make a statement about the Indo-Pacific region as part of its view of the world… I think the Quad, through our foreign secretaries and ministers, has proved itself increasingly useful over the previous two years. The Quad summit was a natural progression that occurred earlier this year, and it was not just about a change in administration in the US. I suspect it may well have occurred at some stage anyway. But certainly, we see the US administration being far more consistent and clear about its view around the Indo-Pacific, which matches the ambitions and aspirations of Japan, Australia, and of course, India in the region.

SHUBHAJIT ROY: Was China the glue that brought the Quad nations close?
I think the Quad was developed very nicely before China decided to change the way in which it interacted publicly with the world, and bilaterally with a number of nations. It is not that long ago that we had our foreign ministers’ meeting at the United Nations, and we have now had our first Quad meeting… It predates China’s changing posture. Power and wealth is shifting from the Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific. The Indian Ocean continues to be responsible for half of global trade, and it is important to each of the players in the Quad. China’s change of attitude in recent times probably has, to some extent, created an extra incentive, but I think the glue was there before.

NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN: One of the underpinnings of the Quad is that it’s a coming together of four big democracies. The military coup in Myanmar has been a big challenge in the Indo-Pacific region recently. As a group, the Quad hasn’t said anything about it.
Firstly, I don’t think anyone has ever seen the Quad as an all-embracing Indo-Pacific parliament where there will be one attitude and one approach to issues that arise. Yes, we have a shared vision for the Indo-Pacific but that doesn’t mean we have a specific attitude to each and every country with whom most of us already have a relationship… When it comes to issues that will arise from time to time, including Myanmar, I’m happy to say that Australia has taken a strong position. But individual countries will determine their positions themselves. It is not an Indo-Pacific united nations…. I am not wishing to be in any way dismissive of the horrors that are occurring in Myanmar….

ANIL SASI: The negotiations between India and Australia on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) have been underway since 2011. Will there now be an attempt to revive it perhaps through more strategic tools or even the Quad?
Yes, our two countries tried to negotiate what is colloquially called a free trade agreement. We got well down the path and then it stalled. We are now in 2021. The good news is that both our prime ministers, on June 4 last year, agreed to reengage on CECA. That essentially means in the language of politics that we are about to have another go at it. That reflects the commitment from both sides to try and improve the trade and economic relationship between both countries, because we understand that it is commerce, investment, business that underpins both our economies and determines the living standards of our citizens.

A key part of the comprehensive strategic partnership was to promote trade investment between our countries and see opportunities in India, opportunities that have been opened up by reforms undertaken over the past 12 months, particularly around foreign direct investment… If India wants to have the world’s largest electric vehicle industry, if India wants to have a large battery industry, Australia has the critical minerals that it needs to develop those industries. And the good news is that some of those are already owned by Indian investors. The car world is looking for other opportunities to invest in similar sources of those minerals around the world, but equally in Australia.

SHUBHAJIT ROY: One of the sectors where India and Australia are planning to cooperate on is of rare earth minerals where the supply chains are overwhelmingly controlled by China. What is the progress on that front so far?
The work that India, Australia and Japan commenced late last year is progressing. The number one lesson of the pandemic is the need to not just have resilient supply chains but to have supply chains that are diversified. So that work is going on as we speak. In the meantime, Australia and India have both been doing work on scoping what we believe to be the demand for these critical minerals and rare earths in India.

I think the one thing that has evolved even more over this past 12 months is the level of trust between India and Australia. The first trade between Australia and India was in 1795, between Calcutta and Sydney… and we want to see more of it.

NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN: If it’s not the business of the Quad to address what goes on in each individual country, what does the Quad have to offer to the people of the region? What does the Quad have to say to Myanmar?
At the end of the day, individual nations will determine their own attitudes on these issues. The Quad is standing up for the sovereignty of nations, and the rules and norms to encourage greater freedom and security across our region… The Quad leaders have made the point about the centrality of ASEAN and the ASEAN outlook in their work in relation to delivering a free, open, secure and a healthy Indo-Pacific.

SUNNY VERMA: The Indian government has been raising tariffs on a lot of items in line with the ‘vocal for local’ and self-reliant India campaigns to promote domestic manufacturing. What has been the position of Australian companies on this?
Of course, industries that are affected by changes in tariffs or non-tariff barriers will always raise those concerns with their government. But, over the past four months, I’ve been impressed by Prime Minister Modi’s reform agenda… From time to time, there will be, even amongst the closest of friends, the odd difference of opinion, and through the World Trade Organisation and other vehicles we peacefully, harmoniously, have to resolve that matters. I don’t think any nation is without issues that sometimes irk other countries. But I have to say, I’ve witnessed since I’ve been here over the past 13 months now, a closeness in the relationship with Australia. I have been coming here for 10 years, I have been a critic of the lack of consistency of the Australian government in their dealings with India. And at the risk of perhaps exciting some interest back home by this comment, I say, genuinely, that in Prime Minister (Scott) Morrison, in foreign minister (Marise Ann) Payne, and in our commerce minister, we have three individuals who have shown a constancy to this relationship. And I believe in any relationship, private, business or government, constancy is a key.

SHUBHAJIT ROY: How did Australia decide to take on China on issues linked to cyber capabilities? Also, was there any exchange of notes between India and Australia on this account?
In my view, it was the 5G decision made by Australia that made India look more closely at Australia (In 2018, Australia blacklisted both Huawei and ZTE from the country’s 5G ). I have known from my visits here that there was concern about the influence of your northern neighbour, our largest trading partner. The 5G decision demonstrated to India that Australia makes decisions based on its national interest, just as India makes decisions on its national interest… I don’t think the decision itself was surprising in that sense. But I think its impact in India has helped bring us closer over the past couple of years.

We know that whether it is AI (artificial intelligence), or these other technologies, they are going to change our world again, open up even more opportunities for citizens, for companies and for countries to do good, positive work. Equally though, they can be used for coercive and other purposes… We have talked about some of the cyber attacks that we’ve seen with some of the early versions of this technology. The rate at which this technology is evolving, we should be concerned about these things and all governments should be making decisions based on their national interest. The Australian government simply decided that we would not allow control over the system in Australia of what we believe to be a high-risk vendor environment. We need to ensure that when it comes to this technology, we can be confident about those who are operating it. I think that’s also leading to ongoing discussions between India and Australia and no doubt with other nations around the world, about the operating environment, because there are countries committed to an ecosystem that will ensure these things are used for good. We will be talking increasingly together to try and develop that ecosystem… On 5G and other initiatives we are taking to our friends, including India, about our experiences, because I’ve noticed that often other countries, including India, are able to avoid the pitfalls in areas where… other countries have gone first.

MANRAJ GREWAL SHARMA: Not many people know that Australia helped Punjab develop the happy seeder, which is a zero-tillage machine. Are we looking forward to more such initiatives?
I hadn’t heard of the happy seeder until six months before I came to India. When it was first mentioned to me by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, which has been cooperating here in India for over 25 years, I immediately thought they were talking about Lebanese cedar trees… What the happy seeder does is to do away with the need to remove stubble. It harvests and replants in the same movement. Having been to Punjab a few months ago and having seen it in operation and been told about the way in which it is slowly but surely moving across agriculture in India, I’m pleased by that. We know that change is hard in any organisation. And it’s hardest of all, I suspect, in agriculture in India and Australia. But hopefully, there’s some progress… I think what it reflects is that mining a relationship is often not just about the import of products to India but also about the provision of technology, services and expertise to assist India to develop its markets. In agriculture, we’ve been working together on research projects like the happy seeder. I think one of the lessons out of the past four months, and this has been reinforced to me by technology experts, investors and governments, is that two of the hot areas where I think we are going to see this (collaboration) happening is education and telehealth… or the remote to use of technology for people who… may not be close to a hospital, or a clinic.

ANIL SASI: What is your opinion about the News Media Bargaining Code — the pushback from Facebook and the subsequent deal that was signed?
The code simply seeks to ensure that news organisations are fairly remunerated for the content that they generate through people like yourself (journalists). And it’s the basis of trying to help sustain a public interest journalism in Australia. And yes, like many other new policies, it took a while to get into a shape that met the government’s objective. But it did so in a way without overly interfering in the way in which businesses are able to operate. So we are comfortable with it. There has been considerable international interest in it. It’s clearly a fair thing to do. I know that the French had already gone down a slightly different path… India, like other countries, have an interest in our experience with the Bargaining Code, and we’d be happy to share insights with them as we continue to implement the code across Australia.

SHUBHAJIT ROY:You have watched federal structures and you understand centre-state relationships well. Currently, India is witnessing a second wave of Covid and there is a blame game going on between the Centre and states on the surge, vaccination….
The reason for that is that whilst it does and can create accurate media stories, whilst it can excite people and grab headlines, what I noticed here when I was having virtual conversations on the phone with various political figures at the state and Union level during the first six months of the last year was that so many of them said to me, ‘Ignore what you see in the newspapers on Covid. There is close cooperation between the Centre and the states.’ I’m talking here of state governments that are of a different political persuasion to the Centre. And I was heartened by that. Just as in Australia, I joke that for the first six months of Covid, I saw the Australian Federation work in a way that it had never worked before. It certainly didn’t work like that in a cooperative, constructive way, when I was the chief minister. But when the second wave struck Australia, we started to see a bit of a fracturing in the relationship between the individual states and the Centre. This is because people started to put their own state interests ahead of everything else. What’s currently happening in India in relation to the vaccine programme is extraordinary. The rate of rolling out of vaccines here in India, now over the past 14 days up until April 5, is 36 million doses… Australia is a country of 26 million people….

SHUBHAJIT ROY: In recent months, there have been a slew of arrests of climate activists and students in India. As a former politician do you think this augurs well for our democracy?
Firstly, it’s not for me or my government to comment on the internal matters of any country. But India is known rightly around the world for being a diverse and pluralistic democracy with robust and resilient institutions. In the last few months, a couple of reports came out calling some of that into question. But equally highlighting what is obvious as we speak — that India is a country where there are free, fair, and robustly fought elections… I think we have the same values. India has strong institutions that I think support the free and openness here… I’m not aware that any of the actions that have been going on in the time that I’ve been in India were not going on over the previous decade… I’m not aware of there being additional laws that might be described as coercive having been introduced to enable that to happen. So, in democracies, people elect governments. Ultimately in democracies, people will hold those governments to account. And in democracies, citizens look to the government to provide them with secure and stable environments in which they can get on with their lives. Part of being a democracy is the right to protest…

NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN: Do India and Australia know each other any better beyond the three cliches of cricket, Commonwealth and curry? You have come up with the four Ds, which are dosti (friendship), defence, diaspora and democracy….

I think we have advanced because the size of the diaspora is now significant. One in 35 Australians are of Indian origin, either born in Australia or have a parent or grandparent who was born in India… Indians in Australia join us and participate in local communities and sports and the like. So that is people-to-people. Then at a business-to-business level, just as most US technology companies are run by people of Indian origin, we have similar experience in Australia. I think that has helped to open up the eyes of many in business in Australia to the opportunities that exist in this country. So yes, it (the relation) has progressed….

The thing that frustrates me is the media. Firstly, because of the economics of the media, there is only one Australian news representative in India. That means, therefore, when I read Australian newspapers… I am more likely to read articles… that have come from the The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post written by, in many cases, people of Indian origin or citizens living in America or Britain… If Australian newspapers and media organisations can’t afford to have their own representatives in India, I’d like them to take copies from.
 

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China wary as India, Australia, Japan push supply chain resilience​

The Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) formally launched on Tuesday by the Trade Ministers of India, Japan and Australia brought a wary response from China, which has described the effort as ‘unrealistic’.

Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce and Industry, launched the SCRI along with Dan Tehan, Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, and Hiroshi Kajiyama, Japan’s Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry. The three sides agreed the pandemic “revealed supply chain vulnerabilities globally and in the region” and “noted the importance of risk management and continuity plans in order to avoid supply chain disruptions”.

Some of the joint measures they are considering include supporting the enhanced utilisation of digital technology and trade and investment diversification, which is seen as being aimed at reducing their reliance on China. “The SCRI aims to create a virtuous cycle of enhancing supply chain resilience with a view to eventually attaining strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth in the region,” a statement said.

Unrealistic approach: Beijing​

China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday described the move as ‘unrealistic’. “The formation and development of global industrial and supply chains are determined by market forces and companies choices,” spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.

“Artificial industrial ‘transfer’ is an unrealistic approach that goes against the economic laws and can neither solve domestic problems nor do anything good to the stability of the global industrial and supply chains, or to the stable recovery of the world economy.”

Mr. Zhao said China hoped that amid the epidemic, “parties concerned will cherish the hard-won outcomes of international cooperation in the fight against the epidemic” and “act in ways conducive to enhancing mutual trust and cooperation, so as to jointly ensure the global industrial and supply chains stable and unimpeded”.
 

RISING SUN

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China checks if Seoul still cool on joining US-led Quad alliance​

Beijing has repeatedly asked if South Korea will join the Quad – a US-led grouping which includes Japan, Australia and India – showing China is increasingly worried about the expansion of what it sees as a move to contain its influence in the region, according to diplomatic sources.

The diplomats said Seoul had received a number of inquiries from Chinese officials about whether it intended to join the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. The South Korean government has consistently said it has not received an invitation to do so.

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/expl...will-it-impact-us-china-relations-under-biden
Observers do not rule out the possibility that South Korea may drop its strategic ambiguity towards the Quad and warned of a “significant challenge” to China’s security in East Asia if that were to occur.​



“The US has been wooing South Korea and seeking to integrate the US’ alliances, respectively with Japan and South Korea, into a triangular alliance. If South Korea joins the Quad, chances are it will eventually lead to such a trio – in other words, a little Nato in Northeast Asia, which will certainly pose a serious challenge to China’s security,” said Qian Yong, associate professor of Zhejiang University’s Korea Institute.


Bi Yingda, a research fellow with the Institute for Korean Peninsula Studies at Shandong University, said an anti-China coalition in East Asia would put China under huge pressure and raise the risks of military conflict.


“An anti-China multilateral alliance in East Asia would heighten confrontation in the region. Subsequently, Beijing would move closer to Russia and side with North Korea over the peninsula issues. When that day comes, it could easily evolve into confrontations between two camps, in other words a cold war. In history that is usually how a war has started too,” Bi said.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has called the Quad grouping a Nato in the Indo-Pacific and warned it would severely undermine regional security. Beijing has also accused Washington of forming a clique to curtail China’s rise.

Officials from the Quad countries have talked about possible new members and invited other countries to discuss security and pandemic control. Seoul has so far resisted picking sides between Washington and Beijing, as it has tried to balance its alliance with the US and economic reliance on China.

Recent years have seen relations sour between China and the four Quad members. The US has ramped up its military presence in the South China Sea, challenging Beijing’s claims over much of the disputed waterway. Japan has been locked in a dispute with China over territorial claims in the East China Sea, as well as friction over the Taiwan issue. China’s ties with Australia are at their lowest in decades on a range of issues, from the pandemic to trade, human rights and accusations of espionage. Border tensions with India remain unresolved.

European nations have also intensified their presence in the Indo-Pacific region. France led military drills with the Quad nations in April, and indicated a joint plan with India and Australia to step up Quad-style cooperation in the region.

“The Quad has provided the US and its allies with an ideal multinational framework to generally suppress China in the future,” said Shi Yinhong, a professor on international relations with Renmin University.

“The main expansion direction for the Quad would be from Britain and other Nato members. Given that almost no Southeast Asian countries will join the group as they are deeply alert to getting involved in China-US rivalry, they also have room to play a somewhat independent role between the two.”

Tang Xiaoyang, an international relations professor at Tsinghua University, said China would be worried that an expansion of the Quad could form a geopolitical encirclement from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean. “Members of the Five Eyes - such as Britain, Canada and New Zealand - may be interested in joining,” he said.
 

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(LEAD) 'Quad is neither security alliance nor Asian NATO': White House official​

SEOUL, May 7 (Yonhap) -- The evolving U.S.-led Quad forum is neither a security alliance nor an Asian version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a U.S. White House official said Friday, stressing it is an open framework designed to tackle shared challenges.

Edgard Kagan, senior director for East Asia and Oceania at the National Security Council, made the remarks in a virtual seminar, amid a sense that the Quad, which consists of the United States, Australia, India and Japan, aims to counter the rise of China, making South Korea and other countries reluctant to join.

"I think it's also worth noting that it's important to keep in mind ... this is not a security alliance. It is not an Asian NATO," Kagan said in the webinar hosted by the local think tank Chey Institute for Advanced Studies.

"It is not something that has very clear governance structures. And so it offers a very flexible framework," he added.


This photo, captured from the YouTube account of the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies, shows Edgard Kagan, senior director for East Asia and Oceania at the National Security Council of the White House, attending a webinar. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


His comment came amid expectations that the U.S. would encourage South Korea, a key Asian ally, to join an expanded version of the Quad forum, with Seoul apparently mindful of potential negative reactions from China.

Seoul has maintained that it is willing to cooperate with the Quad member countries on an issue-by-issue basis, and that it can join any architecture as long as it operates under the principles of openness, inclusiveness and transparency.

Observers said that the issue of South Korea's participation in the Quad could be brought up when President Moon Jae-in holds his first in-person summit with his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, in Washington on May 21.

Noting a "great deal of interest" about the Quad in Korea, Kagan stressed that there are many "opportunities" that would arise if Seoul works together in the Quad framework.

"What we see is very much opportunities, opportunities to further expand areas of cooperation for countries that have common interests," he said. "We see this as something that will require discussion and we look forward to being part of that discussion."

Asked whether China can be part of Quad activities related to transnational challenges, such as climate change, Kagan stressed that the forum is "based on the idea of a free and open Indo-Pacific" -- a vision that Washington believes has been undermined by an assertive China.

"It's hard to imagine countries participating in activities that didn't sign on to the idea of a free and open Indo-Pacific free of coercion, free of intimidation, free of economic retaliation or economic threats," he said.

In the webinar, Michael Green of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said he does not anticipate expansion of the Quad, as it would get the forum "slower and more cumbersome."

Noting Korea's interest in the Quad agenda, such as maritime security and supply chain management, Green said that the question is not whether Korea should join the Quad or not.

"You know it's which part of the agenda, on an a la carte basis, will Korea join, as other countries -- Canada, Britain, France -- join in different aspects of the Quad," he said.
 

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"It's hard to imagine countries participating in activities that didn't sign on to the idea of a free and open Indo-Pacific free of coercion, free of intimidation, free of economic retaliation or economic threats," he said.
One can only wonder why exactly the United Sanctions of America are in, then.