The Quad, or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, is a group of four countries: the United States, Australia, India, and Japan. The QUAD group was established in 2007 by then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with the support of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. But after the term end of the then Australian Prime Minister John Howard, the group got dismantled, and after the 2017 ASEAN summit the group realigned to its original form. The QUAD group was brought back to life to counter China militarily and diplomatically in the South China Sea. All four members of the group have either diplomatic or military standoffs with China. Even after the group revival in 2017, because of various issues, the in-person summit has got a push forward, and after five years the first-ever in-person summit of the four leaders of the Quadrilateral Framework (Quad) in the United States on September 2021. The QUAD summit 2021 was deeply focused on common challenges from Covid to climate.
Quad Leaders Summit 2021
The four giant pillars among the democratic and vibrant economies in the Indo-Pacific regions: Japan, Australia, India, and the USA forms this quadrilateral strategic group, called QUAD. One of the major reasons behind the alliance was China’s growing military presence in the strategic region. The group held the virtual meeting in March amid the pandemic and after a long haul, US President Joe Biden hosts the very first in-person Quad leaders summit in September 2021.
The group’s first in-official collateral relations can be found back in the wake of the 2004 devastating Tsunami. After the Indian Ocean tsunami, Japan, Australia, India, and the US launched an ad-hoc humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) mission. Due to the strong opposition raised by China, the group never have formal meetings in that period of time. But after the 2017 ASEAN summit the leaders decide to hold the meetings to counter the security threats by China in the Indo-pacific regions. As the first step to this strategic relationship, all four members took part in the 2020 Malabar exercise. Malabar exercise is an annual trilateral naval exercise between the navies of India, Japan, and the USA which is held alternately in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
During this meeting, all four nations vowed to ensure a free Indo-Pacific region from all sorts of threats. China’s growing willingness to challenge the regional status quo and its aggressive crackdown on democratic voices make the QUAD group strengthen the alliance. As China is expanding their military alliance in the region, the free trade and security in the region is a worrying concern for the members.
In 2020, the US has an estimate of USD 1.9 trillion worth of trades passed through this route. According to a UN report, in 2021, 42 per cent of the world’s exports and 38 per cent of global imports are expected to pass through, this route. Japan depends heavily on open sea lanes for its trade with the world, and they do have invested trillions in infrastructure development across the region. China’s assertion of its sovereignty in the South China Sea, and the conflict between Japan and China on the East China sea makes Japan stay in the group to have strategic and military assistance from other members.
Outcomes of QUAD Summit 2021
Some of the major decisions taken in QUAD 2021:
- The members are taking the shared action necessary to expand safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine manufacturing. All four of them will share the technology to buckle up the clinical trials and vaccine rollouts.
- Japan will help regional partners in Vaccine purchase with $3.3 billion of COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan. Australia will deliver $212 million in aid to purchase vaccines for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. In addition, Australia will also allocate $219 million to support last-mile vaccine rollouts.
- India would make 8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine available for export by the end of October.
- Members have decided to join forces to tackle the climate crisis in urgency. The QUAD alliance will work together to keep the Paris agreement aligned with temperature limits within reach and will pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. By 2021 end, member nations intend to update or communicate NDCs by COP26 and welcome those who have already achieved the same.
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