Dhaka, Bangladesh
The quad power

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The quad power

In a significant geostr-ategic move India, the US, Japan and Australia resurrected their quadrilateral grouping on the sidelines of the Asean summit in Manila. The first meeting of officials from the four countries took place against the backdrop of an increasingly assertive China that has not only made Southeast Asian nations wary but also raised concerns regarding freedom of trade and navigation through the waters of the South and East China seas. Add to this China’s aggressive posturing along land borders with countries like India and Bhutan. It’s welcome then that the ‘quad’ has endorsed a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region that isn’t monopolised by a single country.  There’s no denying that the quad is good for India. It gives New Delhi a powerful platform to advance its interests in East Asia, coordinate strategies with powerful friends and add more strength to its Act East initiative. However, it was previously reported that India was circumspect about the grouping because it felt that its interests may not get properly represented within the forum. Plus, given the current status of the India-China relationship, New Delhi may not have wanted to rock the boat too much in east Asia either. But this kind of thinking is counterproductive. In fact, caution and prevarication have been the bane of Indian foreign policy in the past. The Indian leadership should be nothing but confident about the fact that India is a major power today with interests spanning the Asian continent. This makes India central to the Indo-Pacific architecture. It’s worth remembering that China routinely brushes aside Indian concerns and steps on its toes often. There’s no reason to be overly deferential to Chinese concerns. The current geopolitical scenario affords significant strategic opportunities. To take advantage of these India must play the game instead of sitting on the sidelines. That will make even Beijing respect it more. — The Times of India

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