As there is shift in the economic, military and human resource potential from Atlantic to Pacific, so it is need of the hour to harness the potential through regional grouping of like minded countries based on the principle of democracy & thus four Indo-Pacific Ocean bordering countries – India, Japan, Australia & USA formed QUAD.
QUAD as Military alliance :-
- Labeled as ASIAN NATO
- Military Exercise jointly like MALABAR, AUSINDEX etc.
- India’s main arm deals with USA like Apache Helicopters etc.
- USA deploying submarines in the South China sea countering Chinese hegemony.
Why Transforming into trade bloc –
1. To increase trade between countries especially after shutdown due to COVID.
2. To break Chinese monopoly in manufacturing and emerging service sector.
3. Projecting itself as trade bloc will attract more regional players like ASEAN to join it.
4. China growing its international presence through Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and many countries falling in the trap, chequebook diplomacy to help these nations like Srilanka.
5. Trade of QUAD nation with China, these all four nations are trying to increase trade among them to reduce dependency on china.
6. To utilize natural resources of Indo-pacific nations.
7. Many trade related issues are stuck at W.T.O (as W.T.O follows One Nation One Vote principle) like subsidy, free trade etc., can be sorted out with small groupings.
How QUAD is transforming into trade bloc –
1. Finalization of free trade agreements.
2. Transfer of technology & establishing joint ventures. For example, recent join ventures to provide COVID-vaccine.
3. Safeguarding sea lanes of communication from pirates for free passage of goods.
4. More focus on green sustainable energy resources along with disaster mitigation & adaptation to make trade sustainable.
5. Blue Dot Network & Blue Flag Network of beaches for infrastructure development.
However, there are few challenges like lack of finance & technology transfer, resistance of ASEAN nations to join QUAD due to heavy dependency on China, subsidy issues & export of services from India, etc. But silver lining like common democratic principles, joint projects like India’s International Solar Alliance & SAGAR, Japan & Asia-Africa growth corridor etc. can lead into a successful trade bloc.