Tuesday 20 October 2020

India to have US, Japan, Australia on its side in fight against China

India is holding the two-plus-two dialogue with the US and Japan at ministerial level and Australia at the foreign secretary level to strengthen QUAD

The United States, India, Australia and Japan are presently in talks to finalise the venue and date of QUAD security dialogue next month. The 2 plus 2 dialogue between India and US here will follow. For now, Japan could be the venue of the QUAD dialogue. Alternatively, both QUAD and 2 plus 2 dialogues will take place back to back in New Delhi late next month.

This is how the QUAD operates. It’s an informal dialogue between democratic countries that share military logistics support, inter-operability through exercises and information and are committed to keeping the Indo-Pacific sea lanes of communication free from artificial constructs and constraints.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, Indian external affairs minister S Jaishankar, Japanese foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Australian foreign minister Marise Payne will participate in the dialogue. The ministers and secretaries follow the broad guidelines from the respective executive heads of the four countries who share a personal rapport and a global vision for peace.

The delay in the date and venue is due to the change of government in Japan. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has just taken over from an ailing Shinzo Abe.

For the 2 plus 2 dialogue, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will join US Secretary of Defence and Pentagon chief Mark Esper in New Delhi.

While the QUAD does not target a particular country, the informal group closely monitors the rise of wolf warriors in communist China and its impact on security of Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean. This is significant, as Beijing has opened fronts against all four QUAD members ― on issues ranging from land disputes to exports to data extraction. The rise of QUAD is a direct consequence of China claiming the entire South China Sea through artificial nine dash line. The global body tribunal rejects this claim of China.

The QUAD would be stronger as India holds the 2 plus 2 dialogue with the US and Japan at ministerial level and with Australia at the foreign secretary level. All the four nations regularly conduct military exercises. The chances of QUAD navies participating under the rubric of Malabar exercises are very high ― though the decision is pending.

The two plus two dialogue will follow the QUAD talks in Delhi, with US and India to initial the long pending foundational basic exchange and cooperation agreement for sharing geospatial data. While the US is ready to supply avant garde military hardware to India including armed drones, it has been left to the latter to work out what it requires to deal with a rising global power next door.

Given the fact that the Chinese army is dragging its feet on total disengagement from Ladakh sector, it is quite obvious that the PLA aggression in western sector in May 2020 will be a hot topic of discussion for both QUAD dialogue and 2 plus 2.

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