G 20 showed how lucky PM Modi is. He runs India in Presidential style with unfettered power and loves adulation as an orator. India has the biggest virgin market of 1.4 bill consumers in the world and is the largest Defence importer and controls the strategy of the Indian Ocean. So Presidents Trump, Putin and Xi Jinping and PM Abe were like salesmen mouth watering and fawning over PM Modithe biggest customer at G-20. FDI has poured in anticipation of a gold rush. IDF wishes Governance well. 

This then is an IDF analysis of the critical Quadrilateral Security Dialogue which is commonly referred to as the QUAD. It has evolved as an informal grouping of United States, Japan, Australia and India, whose leaders have met at various levels for strategic talks since 2007, to China’s ire.

The QUAD is an extension of the series of trilateral meetings held at official level, and then raised to Ministerial level called the Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD), between the United States and its allies Japan and Australia since 2002. TSD was the attempt of the United States to rope in its allies in the East to evolve a global strategy to fight terrorism and nuclear proliferation after the horrific 9/11attacks in 2001 in NYand DC, as the perpetrators who claimed responsibility were found to be Islamic, 

President Trump’s daughter Ivanka’s statement at G-20when she dubbed Modi as Trump’s most critical trade and security partner and praised PM Modi to the skies was significant. Two bi-partisan US senators Democrat Senator Mark Warner and Republican Senator John Cornyn have moved an amendment to change the US Armed Controls Export Act to bring India on a par with NATO allies, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Korea for purposes of selling military items under the ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) list. It should pass as USA grows itself on Defence exports, especially the Republican party.

USA under Trump is pushing India to join USA and the QUAD as a formal grouping and buy defence wares from USA to displace Russia. This will not be easy as Russia is a trusted supplier to India and Make in India has failed. It was mistakenly taken up by MOD with DPPs as import substitution not to first import few weapons and then,mix and manufacture in India”, and tempt foreign companies to set up in India and export, like the car industry. Recently VEM technologies is reported importing Javeline anti tank hand held components from Raytheon and roped in DRDO to say made in India and cancelled Spike. Why not civil sector and export ?

India is still one of the largest importer of defence wares. The needs are expanding as even rifles are not made in India, and Services look to the Defence budget reported as Rs 4 Lac crore ($ 65 Bill but includes 20 bill pensions)Cost of making warships and even SU-30 MKIs in India has been double of that abroad, and Joint Secretary (Exports) warned Private Defence Companies to export or PERISH ! What have PSUs exported ?? What about their investment ? Make in India needs a strategy as even off sets have been of no technological inputs. The Coffee machine in the C 130 Base is said to be in off sets. 

The need for security dialogue between the four QUAD nations was initiated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, goaded by US Vice President Dick Cheney with Prime Minister John Howard of Australia and India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The spark for the dialogue was paralleled by Exercise Malabar 2007 conducted by the Indian Navy in September with warships, submarines and aircraft from India, the United States, Japan, and Australia and Singapore. China raised concern, calling it a Quad against China, as it was the first time ever a joint exercise of this scale involving twenty seven multinational warships with three aircraft carriers was conducted by the Indian Navy. The exercise was previously a bilateral India-US engagement that was expanded for the first time. Australia has not been included in Exercise Malabar since. Nor has Singapore. In January 2008, Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, clarified that, “India is not part of any so-called contain China effort,” when being asked about the Quadrilateral 

In Apr 2009 Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd terminated the informal quadrilateral, signaling closer relations with China after he met China’s foreign minister Yang Jiechi, before visiting Japan, but in June 2010 Rudd’s replacement Prime Minister Julia Gillard steered a shift in Australian foreign policy towards a closer relationship to the United States with a distancing from China. It led to increasing military cooperation between the United States and Australia and US stationed Marines near Darwin.

India showed its desire to work with USA and on 25thJanuary 2015 President Obama on a visit to India spelt out the U.S.-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region as the two leaders of the world’s two largest democracies that bridge the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region met. It reflected anagreement that a closer partnership between the United States and India is indispensable to promoting peace, prosperity and stability in the Indo Pacific. The leaders agreed on a Joint Strategic Vision document for the region. In June 2017 PM Modi on a visit to USA met  President Trump and issued a India-US Joint Statement titled, The United States and India: Enduring Global Partners in the 21st CenturyThe dye of US India closeness was cast.

In 2017 India supported the revived QUAD at the thirtyfirst ASEAN and the twelfth East Asia Summit which was held in Pasay in the Philippines from 13th November. The East Asia Summit is an annual meeting of national leaders from the East Asian region and adjoining countries. India participated in the first official-level QUAD discussions on 12th November 17 represented by the Joint Secretary in charge of the East Asia division in MEA, Pranay Verma, and the Joint Secretary in charge of South division, Vinay Kumar. Later Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with Premier Shinzo Abe of Japan and U.S. President Donald Trump at a gala dinner thrown by President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines for the invited leaders

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement on the quadrilateral stated, “the discussions focused on cooperation based on their converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region that they share with each other and with other partners. They agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large. The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity,

The scene for QUAD has intensified as the  U.S. Navy and Indian Navy leadership led by VCNS Vice Admiral Ashok Kumar were invited by Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from 17th to 19thJan this year and discussed a programme of engagements between the two navies for the year, and the breadth of maritime cooperation between the two navies. The executive steering group discussed everything from exercises and subject matter expert exchanges to theater security cooperation and defense procurement, as LEMOA and COMCASA should lead to BECA. 

Finally, there some misgivings remain amongst ASEAN countries that are ringed by the Quad countries that would need to be ironed out. PM Modi’s speech at the Shangri-La dialogue officials from all four nations of the Quad conceded that while the Quad has made some progress over the year, many areas of divergence exist. Takeshi Osuga spokesman for Abe, stated, “India is the key country towards realizing the Free and Open Indo Pacific (strategy). We have a lot of expectations from the leadership of PM Modi, who just won a reelection bid and is in a good position to decide on bold policies in the coming years”. India is reluctant to play its trump card on the QUAD but may have to make up its mind ! Shan No Varuna .


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