Heads of government of the US, Japan, India and Australia met in the US on September 24. This was the first in-person meeting of heads of governments of these four countries, who together constitute what is called QUAD (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue). Earlier this year, in March, these heads of governments had held a virtual meeting.
QUAD is part of the US strategy to conquer Asia as a prelude to establishing its unrivalled domination over the whole world. The US sees in a rising China the main threat to realizing this aim. The joint statement issued by the four leaders at the end of the Summit clearly reveals that the US hopes to use the QUAD alliance to contain the rise of China.
The statement harps on the four countries commitment to “promoting a rules- based order, rooted in international law” to allegedly strengthen “security and prosperity” in the Indo Pacific and the world. The US respects no international laws. On the contrary it is the biggest opponent of a rules-based international order. It consistently violates the principles on which the United Nations was founded, such as upholding the sovereignty of all countries, irrespective of their economic and political systems. The US is continuing the illegal blockade of Cuba, despite the United Nations General Assembly resolutions demanding it lift the blockade.
The US has imposed a unilateral economic blockade of Iran. It has threatened any country which dares to trade with Iran with punishment. The people of the Korean peninsula, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria and Somalia have suffered enormous destruction and devastation as a result of aggression and military intervention by US imperialism.
The US is by far the biggest military power on earth, and its warships freely roam over all the seas and oceans of the world, threatening all other countries, big and small. It does not recognize the territorial waters of other countries, as defined by UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea). Earlier this year, in April, a US warship from its Seventh Fleet provocatively sailed through Indian territorial waters near Lakshadweep. The US publicly and brazenly announced that it does not recognize India’s rights over these waters.
India as well as various countries of South East Asia have disagreements with China over borders and territorial waters. These are a legacy of colonial rule. In order to build a coalition of countries under its leadership to contain China, the US has been exploiting such disagreements, and exacerbating them.
The US has proposed that an Eastern NATO – a military alliance of US, Japan, India, Australia and countries of South East Asia — must be established under its leadership to encircle China. The peoples of South East Asia and East Asia have bitter memories of colonial rule, of the barbaric Japanese occupation during the Second World War, and the brutal war waged by US imperialism against the Korean, Vietnamese, and other peoples. They do not want to get subjugated by the US or any other imperialist power. They do not want their countries to become embroiled in the growing conflict between US and China.
Realising that the majority of countries of South East Asia do not want to become part of a US led military alliance against China, the US has been refining its strategy to conquer Asia.
The underlying aim of establishing the QUAD alliance remains contesting China militarily on land and in the oceans. At the same time, in order to get other countries of South East Asia into such an alliance, the US is trying to use aid for infrastructure development as a tool. The US claims that this will be provided to the countries and peoples of Asia without strings attached, allegedly different from the way China invests in infrastructure development in these countries.
China has launched a massive infrastructure development initiative called the Belt and Road Initiative covering many countries of Asia, Africa and Europe. The QUAD summit decided to invest in infrastructure development in ASEAN countries as a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The QUAD summit announced collaboration amongst the four countries in high tech sectors, including 5G communications, solar energy, etc. The US wants to challenge China in these arenas.
China has supplied vast amount of COVID vaccines to countries of ASEAN. The Quad Summit announced that India will supply vaccines beginning October to these countries. The production of vaccines in India will be financed by the US, Japan and Australia.
The QUAD summit talked of ensuring uninterrupted supply chains. China is a producer of crucial elements in the supply chain of medicines as well as many industrial goods. The US is proposing to move the production of crucial elements of supply chains, currently produced in China, to India.
In sum, the US wants to use India in its contention with China over the countries of South East Asia.
The QUAD summit was held barely a week after the US, Australia and Britain announced the formation of a new military alliance called AUKUS. This alliance is openly targeted at China, and aimed at militarily challenging China in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, using Australia as a base.
Ten years ago, the then US President Barack Obama announced the “Pivot to Asia”. The US has moved majority of its armed forces to the Indo-Pacific region. It has established strategic military alliances separately with Australia and India, in addition to the existing military treaty with Japan. The four countries carry out regular joint military exercises in the Indian Ocean as well as Pacific Ocean. Now, it has established the AUKUS military alliance.
The Indian bourgeoisie is playing a dangerous game by establishing a military alliance with the US. News reports indicate that the US has asked India to provide military bases in Kashmir or Ladakh. This shows that the US wants to embroil India in its wars against other countries of the region. The Indian people must demand that India end its strategic alliance with the US.
The QUAD has been established by the US to fulfil its strategy of conquest of Asia. The US will try to exacerbate the contradictions between India and China. It will fuel the ambitions of the Indian bourgeoisie to expand its markets and sphere of influence in Asia in contention with China. Many countries have a bitter experience of how the US used them for its own strategic imperialist ends and then stabbed in the back when their purpose had been served.
Quad increases the dangers of India getting embroiled in US imperialism’s wars in this region. India must exit QUAD.