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Eye on China, Quad vows to up its game in Indo-Pacific

The Times of India logo The Times of India 26-09-2021 Chidanand Rajghatta
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WASHINGTON: The US and India, bilaterally and quadrilaterally with Japan and Australia, have committed to massively upping their game to counter China’s rapidly growing influence in the Pacific and beyond, with a raft of economic, health, and technological initiatives that will draw their people and societies, their industry and businesses, and their militaries and defence establishments closer.

Not once in the two bilateral and multilateral statements, did the word China feature, but the underpinning was unmistakable. “We also recognise that our shared futures will be written in the Indo-Pacific, and we will redouble our efforts to ensure that the Quad is a force for regional peace, stability, security, and prosperity,” their joint statement declared.

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The Covid and climate change crisis provided the jumping point for security cooperation that involves “critical and emerging technologies” where China is stealing the lead. The four countries also declared their intent to work with Asean and the European Union in this regard.

Specific initiatives on Covid-19, which was triggered in China, include massive vaccine production and export commitments to Indo-Pacific countries and beyond, science and technology cooperation in the areas of clinical trials and genomic surveillance to end the pandemic, and a joint pandemic-preparedness exercise in 2022 to address future crisis. But it was in the area of high-tech cooperation that the Quad leaders made commitments aimed at breaking the growing Chinese stranglehold.

In a clear effort to counter China’s Belt and Road initiative, the Quad leaders also announced launching of a new Quad infrastructure partnership. They committed to cooperate in providing technical assistance, empowering regional partners with evaluative tools.

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