Daily Answer Writing
27 September 2021

Q) Is the 'Quadrilateral Security Dialogue(Quad)' is diverting itself from security domain to an alliance for scientific and technological cooperation, in present times? Discuss. (250 words)

  • Source: The Hindu - Page 6/Editorial: Back in the game
  • GS 2: IR


Approach Answer:

Introduction: In March 2021, the QUAD leaders — India, the U.S., Australia, and Japan — held first virtual summit in which 3 Working groups were created viz. The Quad Vaccine Partnership, The Quad Climate Change working Group and The Critical and Emerging Technology Working Group. Recently, 1st ever in-person Quad Summit in continuance to these working groups in New york.


Steps taken during the QUAD members in the scientific & Technological domain -

    1. Developments after the formation of Quad Critical and Emerging Technology Working Group.
      • Quad Senior Cyber Group, 2021: For Implementation of shared cyber standards and Development of secure software;
      • Space Cooperation(2021) begins sharing of Earth observation satellite data and analysis on climate change risks and the  sustainable use of oceans and marine resources.
      • Quad Fellowship: It will bring 100 exceptional Masters & doctoral students(25 from each countries) in STEM to study in the US.
      • Technical Standards Contact Groups: It will establish contact groups on Advanced Communications and AI focusing on standards-development activities as well as foundational pre-standardization research.
      • Semiconductor Supply Chain Initiative: to map capacity, identify vulnerabilities, and bolster supply-chain security for semiconductors and their vital components.
      • Support 5G Deployment and Diversification: a Track 1.5 industry dialogue on Open RAN deployment and adoption, coordinated by the Open RAN Policy Coalition.
      1. Monitor Biotechnology Scanning: The Quad will monitor trends in critical and emerging technologies, starting with advanced biotechnologies, including synthetic biology, genome sequencing, and bio-manufacturing. In the process, we will identify related opportunities for cooperation.
    1. Developments after The Quad Climate Working Group:
      1. Green shipping Network: It will invite leading ports including Los Angeles, Mumbai Port Trust, Sydney(Botany) and Yokahama, to form a network dedicated to greening ad decarbonizing the shipping value chain.
      2. Clean Hydrogen Partnership:  identification and development of delivery infrastructure to safely and efficiently transport, store, and distribute clean hydrogen for end-use applications, and stimulating market demand to accelerate trade in clean hydrogen in the Indo-Pacific region.
      3. Quad-Low emission shipping corridors: 2-3 such corridors would be developed by 2030.
    2. Developments after ‘The Quad Vaccine Partnership: Pledge to donate 1.2bn vaccine dozes globally in addition to doses financed through the COVAX initiative. Biological E Ltd.(Hyderabad)  will produce 1 bn doses of COVID-19 vaccines by 2022. Japan will be providing $3.3 bn through COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan program, Japan.


However, this is not merely scientific partnership, but a step towards deeper security alliance:

    1. Infrastructure partnership: The 2021 - Quad Infrastructure coordination group to meet the significant infrastructure demand in the Indo-Pacific, is being seen as a response to Chinese BRI. Clearly India does not have enough resources to fight Chinese investments alone in the region. This partnership thus becomes necessary.
    2. Geo-economical angle:  The Chinese firms such as Huawei and ZTE are leading in 5G technologies, China controls the semiconductor supply in the world, it is one of the world leader in patents in even technologies like AI and robotics. Thus the scientific cooperation has a geo-economical angle to secure a competitive edge for the Quad.
    3. Extension for Soft power:  Initiative in the Indo-Pacific such as the Quad Vaccine partnership or space cooperation for monitoring & adapting to climate change, disaster preparedness, should be seen as extension of the soft power in the region.
    4. Cyber defense angle:  theQuad Senior Cyber Group would strengthen cyber security infrastructure between the QUAD countries and for the region.
    5. At an Ideological level: The Concept of Democratic Peace i.e. the partnership of four democratic countries present an ideological competition to the Idea of Chinese communism.
    6. Defense cooperation: Apart from the Quad Summit, the four countries interact at personal level too. India now has logistic agreements with each of the other three countries. The US is supplying Nuclear submarines to Australia with the help of UK(AUKUS group). The Quad countries conduct various military exercises such as the Malabar,  Talisman Sabre and various Passage exercises.
    7. Gives confidence to the partners in the Indo-Pacific: China has been extending its creeping aggression in the South China sea. The eminent cooperation  by the Quad members is likely to present some challenge to China in this regard. The Quad has shown that it intends to ensure an Indo-Pacific region “free from coercion and disputes... solved in accordance with international law”.


Conclusion: The recent summit focuses majorly on the long-pending conversations on trade, defence ties and more. It is true that the Quad which is mainly a security dialogue is not directly addressing the core concern. However, it is seeing security comprehensively from the angle of financial hegemony, investment, technological might and secured trade corridors. In this regard these are comprehensive baby steps towards security upon which a security alliance for the future can be strengthened.

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