The US president, Joe Biden has assured to have the first-ever quadrilateral US summit with the leaders of Japan, India and Australia, when the four countries step up co-operation in an effort to stand against China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific. The White House mentioned Biden could hold the virtual meeting next week. Selecting a “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue” meeting for his first summit points out his plan to strengthen the Quad as part of the China strategy. The Quad arose in 2007 after the nation’s synchronized relief after the tsunami that shattered Indonesia in 2004. However, post that it became dormant, somewhere because of Indian and Australian concerns about provoking China.

It was the former president Donald Trump who resuscitated the Quad. While Canberra has been active since long, India has become more active off lately because of the rising tension with China, which also includes a deadly border smash in Ladakh last summer.

Anja Manuel, director of the Aspen Security Forum, talking about India’s move, said, “A decade ago, you still had a lot of the non-alignment movement ideas. That is gone, especially with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and with the incursions in the high Himalayas two years ago and last summer.” Highlighting the shift, India in October called Australia to join Malabar, a military exercise between the US, India and Japan — the first time the four navies had held collective exercises since 2007. The exercises arrive as Indian and Chinese troops were again locked in a serious military stand-off in Ladakh. “China’s aggression in Ladakh was a major catalyst in India not just coming fully on board but agreeing to lend a public military angle to the Quad,” mentioned Brahma Chellaney of the Centre for Policy Research. Admiral Philip Davidson, head of US Indo-Pacific Command, this week shared US-India military co-operation had “advanced markedly” and the scope for more cooperation was “the strategic opportunity” of the 21st century.

Talking at the American Enterprise Institute, he said the militaries were sharing more intelligence, and praised India’s purchase of P-8 spy planes, which are made use by the US and Australia, improving interoperability. Lisa Curtis, an India expert who was the top NSC official for South Asia under Trump during the India-China border crisis and is now head of the Indo-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security said, “They were . . . making the statement that their co-operation with the US and Japanese navies was a reminder to China that if you put pressure on the land borders, you better be prepared to meet us in the naval realm.” 

Rory Medcalfe, an Asia security proficient at Australian National University and author of Indo-Pacific Empire, said there were other spaces where the Quad could co-operate, which could include technology supply chains and cyber policy. “We will move beyond the point of some observers saying that the Quad is an incredible flimsy arrangement that will dissipate, and that the weak link supposedly is India.” India publicly asserts that the Quad is not aimed at China. C. Raja Mohan of the National University of Singapore expressed India can adjust its co-operation since it was not a US treaty ally, like Australia and Japan. “India can set the pace . . . The more India gets positive, the more expansive the agenda on the security side can become.”