Creation of the Quad

Creation of the Quad
Creation of Quad

Creation of the Quad -

Trilateral Security Dialogue (TSD)

The Trilateral Strategic Dialogue (TSD) was a series of trilateral meetings between the United States, Japan, and Australia. The TSD originally convened at the senior officials level in 2002, then was upgraded to ministerial level in 2005. The United States expected regional allies to help facilitate evolving US global strategy to fight against terrorism and nuclear proliferation. In return, Japan and Australia expected benefits including continued US strategic involvement and the maintenance of strategic guarantees in the region.

Quadrilateral initiative

In early 2007, Prime Minister Abe proposed the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or "Quadrilateral Initiative", under which India would join a formal multilateral dialogue with Japan, the United States and Australia.

The initiation of an American, Japanese, Australian and Indian defence arrangement, modelled on the concept of a Democratic Peace, was credited to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Quadrilateral was supposed to establish an "Asian Arc of Democracy," envisioned to ultimately include countries in Central Asia, Mongolia, the Korean peninsula, and other countries in Southeast Asia: "virtually all the countries on China’s periphery, except for China itself."

This led some critics, such as former US State Department official Morton Abramowitz, to call the project "an anti-Chinese move," while others have called it a "democratic challenge" to the projected Chinese century, mounted by Asian powers in coordination with the United States. While China has traditionally favoured the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Quadrilateral was viewed as an "Asian NATO;" Daniel Twining of the German Marshall Fund of the United States has written that the arrangement "could lead to military conflict," or could instead "lay an enduring foundation for peace" if China becomes a democratic leader in Asia.

Formal initiation isolates China

Naval vessels from the United States, Japan, India, Australia and Singapore take part in multilateral exercises in the Bay of Bengal in 2007. China sent diplomatic protests to all four members of the Quadrilateral before any formal convention of its members. In May 2007 in Manila, Australian Prime Minister John Howard participated with other members in the inaugural meeting of the Quadrilateral at Cheney’s urging, one month after joint naval exercises near Tokyo by India, Japan and the United States.

In September 2007 further naval exercises were held in the Bay of Bengal, including Australia. These were followed in October by a further security agreement between Japan and India, ratified during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Tokyo, to promote sea lane safety and defence collaboration; Japan had previously established such an agreement only with Australia.

Though the Quadrilateral initiative of the Bush Administration improved relationships with New Delhi, it gave the impression of "encircling" China. The security agreement between Japan and India furthermore made China conspicuous as absent on the list of Japan's strategic partners in Asia. These moves appeared to "institutionally alienate" China, the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and promote a "Washington-centric" ring of alliances in Asia. The Japanese Prime Minister succeeding Abe, Taro Aso, downplayed the importance of China in the Japan-India pact signed following the creation of the Quadrilateral, stating, "There was mention of China – and we do not have any assumption of a third country as a target such as China."

Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon similarly argued that the defence agreement was long overdue because of Indian freight trade with Japan, and did not specifically target China. On the cusp of visits to China and meetings with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao in January 2008, the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, declared that "India is not part of any so-called contain China effort," after being asked about the Quadrilateral.

Australian departure

In 2008 Kevin Rudd terminated the quadrilateral, signalling closer relations with China. Fears over Chinese military spending and missile capacities had helped drive Australia towards a defence agreement with the United States, as outlined by the 2007 Canberra Defense Blueprint; Sandy Gordon of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute had recommended the sale of uranium to India on the basis of similar considerations, as it appeared that the United States was backing it as a "counter to a rising China." Chinese anger over the Quadrilateral however caused uneasiness within Australia even before the agreements were initiated.

On becoming Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd visited China’s foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, even before visiting Japan, and subsequently organised a meeting between Yang and the Australian foreign minister, Stephen Smith, in which Australia unilaterally announced its departure from the Quadrilateral. Within Australia, this decision was seen as motivated by the uncertainty of China-United States relations and by the fact that Australia’s principal economic partner, China, was not its principal strategic partner. Rudd may furthermore have feared regional escalations in conflict and attempted to diffuse these via an "Asia-Pacific Union."

Some US strategic thinkers criticized Rudd's decision to leave Quadrilateral; the former Asia director of the United States National Security Council, Mike Green, said that Rudd had withdrawn in an effort to please China, which had exerted substantial diplomatic effort to achieve that aim. A December 2008 cable authored by US ambassador Robert McCallum and published by WikiLeaks reveals that Rudd did not consult the United States before leaving the Quadrilateral.

The Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh, a region contested between India and China. US President Obama's efforts in November 2009 to improve US–Indian relations raised alarms in India and Australia both that a deepening military alliance between these powers could lead to regional escalations. According to analyst John Lee, "For realists ... New Delhi has been warily balancing and competing against Beijing from the very moment of India's creation in 1947;" significant tensions between China and India were associated with the disputed Indian province of Arunachal Pradesh, and with Chinese nuclear weapons stationed on the Tibetan Plateau.

Rudd's calculation may have been that as a regional economic power, China was too important to contain through a simplistic Quadrilateral Initiative undertaken by the US, India, Japan and Australia in 2007, when many regional powers are hedging their alliances in the event of an American and Japanese decline.

Australian support

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard with US Ambassador Jeff Bleich in June 2010. Rudd's replacement as Australian prime minister by Julia Gillard in June 2010 was associated with a shift in Australian foreign policy towards a closer relationship with the United States and a distancing from China. The Australian, which has written extensively on the Quadrilateral and on Australian defence issues, argued after Rudd’s replacement that "Australia's national interest is best served by continuing to engage and encourage our long-standing ally, the US, to retain its primacy in the region." Despite Gillard's rapprochement with the US and increased US-Australian military cooperation, Rudd's decision to leave the Quadrilateral remained an object of criticism from Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party.

US Marines stationed in northern Australia

Australia’s decision not to sell uranium to India had weakened Quadrilateral alliances, a move also criticized by the Liberal Party; the Party has however backed Gillard's support for a US military presence near Darwin, overlooking the Timor Sea and the Lombok Strait. With support from the United States, Gillard and the Labor party have since reversed policy and backed the sale of uranium to India, which has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. On 5 September 2014, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott agreed to sell Uranium to India.

Japanese proposals 

In 2012, Shinzo Abe had prepared a proposal on the strategic framework "Asia’s Democratic Security Diamond " before his second administration. However, it was published on the next day of his prime minister-designate by the organizer. Based on this proposal, in 2016 the Japanese government announced that it would pursue a policy that it describes as a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific."