In widening the forum’s focus away from military security and towards the provision of public goods in the vast Indo-Pacific littoral, the first summit of the Quadrilateral Dialogue involving India, Australia, Japan and the United States has improved its own long-term political prospects. Since the first steps towards the Quad’s construction in 2007, China has sought to define the regional discourse by describing the forum as the “Asian NATO” and the harbinger of a “new Cold War”. The conflation of the Quad with the annual Malabar naval exercises that India conducts with the US and Japan (Australia was invited to join last year) added to the image of the Quad as a military formation and generated much unease across the Indo-Pacific.
The leaders of the four nations, meeting digitally last Friday, were wise to make it clear that the Quad is neither a military alliance nor an anti-China coalition. They also insisted that the Quad is an inclusive forum. The four leaders declared that the Quad is a “flexible group of like-minded partners dedicated to advancing a common vision and to ensuring peace and prosperity”. Läs artikel