Quad as an Indo-Pacific NATO – UPSC GS2

Context: China accused the United States of trying to build an “Indo-Pacific NATO” using the Quad and its allies.
What is China’s Concern?
  • China equated the U.S, Australia, India, Japan Quad grouping with the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance involving Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the U.S. and U.K. and the AUKUS (Australia-U.K.-U.S.) defence pact because of:
    • US is strengthening the Five Eyes
    • US is peddling the Quad
    • US is putting together the AUKUS security partnership
    • Tightening bilateral military alliances among Quad members
  • China claimed that the real goal for the Indo-Pacific strategy is to establish an Indo-Pacific version of NATO.
Quad as the ‘Indo-Pacific NATO’
  • Rise of  QUAD is directly correlated with China’s continued rise and increasingly aggressive orientation in foreign policy.
  • All Quad members see China sceptically:
    • India: After border clashes with China and China’s long-standing alliance with Pakistan, India has become more assertive and comfortable with being in a “multi-aligned” arrangement.
    • Australia: has become very concerned about Chinese influence in their country and consequently reversed much of their China policy.
    • Japan:  is extremely concerned about rising Chinese assertiveness in the East China Sea, especially around the Senkaku/Diaoyu Dao Islands.
    • USA: identified China as an “adversary” of the country and entered into a trade war.
  • However, Quad is not a military alliance in the way that NATO is. The most important difference between the two is a lack of a collective defence arrangement.
  • The Quad should engage other regional parties like South Korea and New Zealand in the future.
While China views the Quad grouping as an Asian NATO, in reality, it is much different from NATO. Without a treaty, a structure or a secretariat, the Quad is based on broad-based cooperation on multifarious domains such as vaccines, technology and maritime security.
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