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A naval Quad won’t fight India’s Himalayan war against China

The ambiguity over officially announcing China as its adversary, the lack of overlap between the geographies or the issues of its members with China, and the military disadvantages before a well-prepared Chinese puts a question mark over the Quad

July 21, 2021 / 10:36 AM IST

On June 23, the United States and the Indian navies along with the Indian Air Force held a naval exercise in the Indian Ocean to ‘hone interoperability’. The same day, Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane discussed “bilateral defence cooperation” in a telephonic conversation with the chief of the Japanese Ground-Self Defence Force General Yoshida Yoshihide.

India has maintained that it perceives the Quad as not aimed against anyone, “denied it is an Asian NATO”, stressed on broader issues from vaccine collaboration, to resilient supply chains, and framed its language that avoids irking China. But the belated adoption of broader goals such as climate change and vaccines in the March 12 Quad Leaders’ Summit, to make it more acceptable to other countries, suggested that the target is Beijing.

No Overlap

Only India and Japan have legitimate territorial disputes and are geographically close with China, while the US and Australia’s opposition stems from Great Power contest, China’s socio-political system and ‘repressive’, ‘genocidal’ and ‘militaristic’ policies in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, the South China Sea and Taiwan.