SYLLABUS: General studies paper 2
- Chinese ambassador to Bangladesh warns Dhaka of significant damage to its relationship with Beijing if it joins the Quad, or the quadrilateral framework.
WHAT IS QUAD?
- Quad is an informal strategic dialogue between India, the USA, Japan and Australia. It is the collaboration of like-minded democracies across the Indian and the Pacific Ocean. It aims to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region. The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead after Australia pulled out of it, apparently due to Chinese pressure.
- The grouping regained momentum after 2017. The Quadrilateral coalition was refurbished as ‘QUAD 2.0’ in 2017 on the lines of the ASEAN Summit. Since then the Quad summit meetings are taking place on a biannual basis.
- It will provide India with a powerful platform to advance East Asia’s interests and further strengthen its Act East policy.
- The Indo-Pacific will also offer a chance to the US to influence Afghanistan-Pakistan-Taliban policies in a way that is positive and productive for the Indian subcontinent.
- It will promote economic growth with a better market adaptation, thereby increasing India’s employment opportunities.
- It can act as a balancing force in the region against Chinese aggression.
- India, as a mistress of the Indian Ocean, holds the responsibility to act as the net security provider in the Indian Ocean region. India along with like-minded countries in Quad can counter China’s String of Pearls strategy and debt-trap diplomacy.
WHY DHAKA IS INTERESTED TO JOIN INDO PACIFIC INITIATIVE:
- Bangladesh’s interests in joining the Indo-Pacific initiative were aimed at strengthening its economic ties with countries in this vast region and also for enhanced connectivity.
- Dhaka views Indo-Pacific purely from an economic perspective and considers Bay of Bengal area as part of the blue economy.
- For Bangladesh, getting part of any security alliance as such is difficult because it believes in non-aligned policies and it will make its bargaining power capacity difficult.
- Bangladesh, which supports China’s Belt and Road Initiative, is open to similar infrastructure cooperation with the US, Japan and India.
WHY CHINA IS SO ANXIOUS ABOUT BANGLADESH JOINING QUAD?
- The recent remark of China against Bangladesh is not just part of its wolf warrior diplomacy but also its suspicion over the Quad (Quadrilateral Framework) grouping of US, India, Japan and Australia.
- One of the core agendas of QUAD is to ensure that the Indo-Pacific region remains inclusive, free and open.
- This assumes greater significance in light of the expansionist and at times belligerent approach of China in the region.
- Most nations in the region (Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and India) have territorial or maritime security issues with China.
- China has been particularly aggressive in the South China Sea where it has refused to honour internationally accepted maritime laws and agreements.
- So, while the QUAD may discuss economic, development, pandemic and other issues, the core issue will always remain security and defence to counter the growing military might of China that it is not averse to flexing from time to time.
- China has been changed a lot as far as its economic and military power is concerned. It is playing offensive to keep its interests safe and wants no one to raise questions on its activities. It is indicating the world that it is capable of playing a role of super power. In order to make this possible, China is resorting to wolf warrior diplomacy. However, this policy can harm China’s own interest in the region and can help India to regain trust of its neighbours. The neighbours in the region are discovering that things will not go that easy with China. On other hand, striking a balance between firmly defending national interests and enhancing soft power is a great challenge in Chinese diplomacy today.
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