The rise of Chinese designs in the Asian-Pacific region is a fair worry not only for the United States but also for the other regional nations for their national security.
While the US is trying to embrace various policies to counter the Chinese threat, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) remains the primary one.
As President Joe Biden participated in a virtual meetup of the QUAD countries‘ leaders recently, his dream for a “free, open, secure” Indo-Pacific region depicts a rather ambitious approach toward the all-important region.
While the manufacturing of vaccines remained the top agenda of the meeting amid the rising pandemic, the message from Biden was clear regarding Chinese ambitions in the South China Sea.
Apart from the concerns regarding the disputed waters, the economic competition with China is also a top-notch priority of the QUAD leaders, as the rise of China is in favor of none of them.
QUAD: An Opportunity for the USA to Counter China
QUAD, the alliance of four countries, the USA, India, Australia, and Japan, has been known as one of the biggest counter-measures of the world against China.
In fact, the very purpose of the alliance is to counter Chinese ambitions in the world.
For this very purpose, the trademark of the alliance is the Malabar Naval exercise to deter the Chinese threat. During these exercises, the countries engage in war exercises every year to portray the notion of readiness against potential Chinese actions.
The exercise in the waters makes the event even more significant, as the prominent threat of China remains in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, where China claims the territory inside the nine-dash line its territory.
The United States has often tried to roam in the Chinese claimed waters to deny Chinese claims on the territory.
This face-off in the ocean has the potential to turn into a full-fledged war, for which QUAD is doing military exercises and preparing a military alliance.
For this very reason, the QUAD alliance made it clear that,
“(We are trying to) ensure that the Indo-Pacific is accessible and dynamic, governed by international law and bedrock principles such as freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes, and that all countries are able to make their own political choices, free from coercion.”
(QUAD Members’ Statement)
This dictum is also a clear message for the increasing Chinese threat to Taiwan and Hong Kong. The mention of freedom in political choices is a clear indication to China to curtail its expansionist policies in both of these countries.
ISRO: An Entity to Counter Sino-Russian Lunar Station Ambitions?
As China and Russia move forward to make a space station on the Moon, QUAD is also ready to counteract the threat.
The move came at a time when the race to dominate space was about to be kicked-off by Russian and Chinese collaboration.
Now, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is intending for better space ties with fellow QUAD countries.
With this, the collaboration between the countries to tackle Chinese space ambitions will be greater. With NASA in hand, the USA will be able to provide better assistance to ISRO, hence deepening the ties further.
Blinken on a Roll in Asia with Biden on a Virtual Meetup
While Biden tried to tackle China on his virtual meetup of the QUAD nations along with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, the Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned China on his first foreign trip after assuming office.
Considering the importance of the region, Blinken is on his trip to Asia, where he is expected to design the course of the US foreign policy to a great extent.
He, along with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, met with Japanese officials and is now headed toward South Korea, two nations that are home to thousands of US troops.
The tour is also a clear message to the North Korean threat. As Antony Blinken is ready to meet with Chinese officials soon, he has already threatened China, showing the United States’ capability and capacity to take military action against China. He said,
“We will push back, if necessary, when China uses coercion and aggression to get its way.”
The United States, under the Biden administration, seems to have an aggressive approach against China which is depicted by Antony Blinken’s statement.
For the United States, all of these countries are an automatic choice for an alliance, considering their anti-China approach.
However, for India, maintaining ties both with the US and Russia will be a tricky approach, as India recently bought the S-400 missile defense system from Russia, going against the US sanctions under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
While tackling China, the US may need to re-think its relations with India, which may try to double-cross both the US and Russia.