The world is facing the worst onslaught of nature’s fury in the past 100 years. The world as we know it will no longer be the same. New world order will emerge in the 21st Century, standing over the ruins of Corona. Based on experiences of mutual trust and friendship during this unforeseen pandemic, the nation-states will align themselves again.
China’s image of becoming the most powerful superpower in the 21st Century got a setback in the COVID affair. In frustration or in pursuit of ‘The Chinese Dream’, PRC may now resort to more aggressive and arm twisting behaviour as it has shown in recent times. The onus falls on the like-minded democracies to resist this and build a new multipolar world order. An institutionalized Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) working as a political, economic and security alliance will certainly keep Beijing’s aspirations in check. India emerges as a key player in the new world order based on the principles of mutual trust, respect and partnership.
In the past eighteen months, there has been series of interesting developments defining the contours of the emerging new world order. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) has now emerged as a crucial alliance and becoming a countervailing force to restrict or curb the increased belligerence of China. In the recently held virtual summit of the Head of the States in March 2021, the contours of future cooperation were given out in a joint statement. Joint Statement pointed out the “Shared vision for the free and open Indo-Pacific” and their commitment to “Strive for a region that is free, open, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion.” These clearly indicate the objectives of the Quad.
In order to become a superpower alliance like erstwhile NATO, it’s important that a long term perspective plan with a roadmap be put in place by QUAD members. The QUAD should emerge as a cohesive alliance largely related to political, economic and military might. A new beginning has been made by sharing production, transportation and usage of COVAXIN between the QUAD nations. Similar areas of mutual cooperation and trust-building, other than defence, with a win-win situation, could be worked out. New vistas can be opened up in trade and manufacturing with Japanese technologies, Indian manufacturing resources, American minds and Australian lines of communications.
The military value of QUAD would be faster and easier to evolve since the economic model has far too many imponderables. The beginning might be made with the political and military aspects of the QUAD. In the coming months, QUAD may formulate a military to military program and exercises. Present-day bilateral or multilateral exercises in the Indo-pacific region could be held within the charter of QUAD and formalized to make them a regular feature. The other areas of converging military issues can be intelligence sharing, technology transfer, joint defence production, logistics basing, communication protocols and perception management. Today our Indian defence industries are getting into strategic partnerships as outlined in our Atma Nirbharta Bharat campaign. This presents an exquisite opportunity for all QUAD countries to build production bases in India. The defence industrial base would lay down the inspiration for further economic activity in other areas of the industry.
The seat of power shifts from Europe to Asia in the 21st Century. The world is also changing from unipolar to multipolar with friendly alliances challenging the hegemony of superpowers. In essence, the clear message of the Quad to China is to stop coercion and accept international law and norms for a free, open, and inclusive usage of the Indo-Pacific region. If the activities continue, the Quad will be in a state to take appropriate steps to counter such moves. The actualization of Quad appears to be a turning point in the narrative of the world order. It certainly positions India in a pivotal role in Asia and enhances the image of India in the new world order of this century.