At the end of May, the bloc of countries known as the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) held its fourth summit meeting in Tokyo, Japan. The QUAD has four members – namely, the United States of America, India, Japan and Australia.
From its inception in 2007, it has been amply clear that QUAD is an American led initiative against China. The US imperialists see China as the major challenger to their drive to dominate Asia and the whole world. Many commentators have called QUAD as an “Asian NATO”. Former US President Obama’s policy of “pivot to Asia”, announced in 2011, was a step in the direction of assuming a more aggressive role to counter China in the Asian countries of the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean regions.
Since the end of World War II, US imperialism has followed a policy of forming military blocs to pressurise and counter what it considers to be the main threat to its global domination in any given period. In the 1950s and 1960s, the US led the formation of several military alliances, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), South-East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and Central Treaty Organization (CENTO). They were all alliances aimed against the Soviet Union and the socialist camp.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the disintegration of the socialist camp, the US continued to utilise NATO as an instrument to expand its domination over Europe. NATO forces under US command dismembered the multi national state of Yugoslavia. The systematic expansion of NATO eastwards has been aimed at subjugating Russia and other countries of Eastern Europe. The US has been trying to establish its complete domination over Europe, as a stepping stone to its domination over Asia and the whole world. It forged alliances such as the “coalition of the willing” to unleash war and aggression against a range of Asian countries including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria, under the garb of fighting against “Islamic terrorism”.
The American imperialist drive towards a unipolar world has met with growing resistance among the nations and peoples who are its victims. It is meeting with growing resistance from various states which are pursuing the creation of a multi polar imperialist world, including from China and Russia, as well as individual imperialist member states within the European Union.
The growing economic, technological and military power of China has impelled the US to focus more attention on the neighbourhood of China. It is keen to strengthen its presence and influence in what it has termed the “Indo-Pacific” region. Quad is an outcome of this US imperialist-driven agenda.
US imperialism, in its drive towards the creation of a unipolar world, has sought to rope in the Indian ruling class as a strategic partner during the last couple of decades. The US sees India as a useful collaborator in its drive to contain China.
The Indian ruling class is participating in this bloc while also keeping its ties with other groupings such as BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), both of which include China as a member. While India is performing this tightrope walk, it is slowly but surely being drawn into the US imperialist orbit.
Developments during the Tokyo Quad Summit
The growing consolidation of the Quad bloc can be seen from the increasing frequency of its meetings. Since March 2021, when the first Quad summit was held, there have been four summit meetings.
This summit was held against the background of the over three month old conflict in Ukraine. US President Biden used this summit to condemn Russia in the strongest possible terms. He sought to present the US as an upholder of the ‘rules-based international order’. At the same time, he also raised the pitch against China, by openly declaring that the US would intervene militarily if China moves into Taiwan. While the summit was taking place, Australia, backed by the US, was taking active steps to scuttle negotiations for closer ties between China and the states in the Pacific islands.
Quad is being strengthened in the conditions of great geopolitical contention. It is serving to advance the US imperialist aim of isolating China and weakening its influence in Asia.
A major development at this Summit was the formation of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). This is an economic grouping consisting of Quad members as well as New Zealand, South Korea and several other South-East Asian states. Many of these states are already part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) initiated by China. The formation of IPEF was clearly an attempt by the US to place itself at the head of a rival regional economic grouping, excluding China.
The Tokyo summit also announced a new Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) initiative. It involves the use of latest technology to allow monitoring of the waters of these regions. The claim is to track ships which hide their identity by turning off their Automatic Identification System. This is a plan to track the movement of Chinese shipping and other Chinese ventures in the South China Sea. It is well known that the warships of the US and its allies themselves resort to the practice of turning off their Automatic Identification System, whenever they want to hide their presence.
The following things are clear from recent developments pertaining to Quad.
- Quad is part of a renewed US imperialist drive to build and strengthen blocs of states and instigate them against China, which it sees as the main challenger to its drive to dominate Asia
- The pace of strengthening Quad has increased greatly in the last one or two years under the Biden presidency.
- The Indian state, while trying to keep some of its options open, is coming under increasing pressure from the US, through Quad and other mechanisms, to bring its geopolitical strategy more completely in line with those of the US.
- Far from strengthening regional peace and security, QUAD will only increase the dangers of inter-imperialist confrontation and war.
All the noise being made that India and the US are partners striving to uphold a ‘rules-based international order’ are a complete eyewash. Quad is a dangerous venture which is against the interest of the Indian people. The interest of our people lies in steering clear of all imperialist blocs. It lies in working persistently to build peaceful relations with our neighbours as well as other countries in Asia and the world. It lies in principled opposition to imperialism and defence of the right of all nations and peoples to determine their own destiny.