The Quad, a grouping of Indo-Pacific democracies, is more relevant than ever. It must now operationalise not just the military exchanges but also formalise economic and technology partnerships that will undergird a meaningful new multilateral, provide it with resilience and appeal in the Indo-Pacific region. In this Webcast, co-hosted by Gateway House and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the panelists discuss the need to reform Quad, which hosts the four leading global voices, in order for it to become the magnet that attracts like-minded nations, small and big cutting across continents and oceans to converge on the new world order realities.
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The recent use of geospatial analyses by Indian social and mainstream media for near real-time defence and military intelligence in Ladakh has been made possible because of the lower cost of earth-observation satellite construction, and thereby, easy access to satellite imagery on the internet. While independent analysis is useful, the same intelligence can be also used against the interests of a sovereign nation by an adversary, especially border imagery. India must find innovative methods to reduce this vulnerability of commercial satellite imagery.
In the past five months, India has seen great change: ambitious economic reforms, billions in U.S. digital investments and a determined military and digital push back against China. India is now using the strategic and market weight of its 1.3 billion population and openly taking geopolitical sides to achieve its desired positioning, namely, to be a reliable partner in a more equitable global supply chain of virtual, physical and geopolitical elements.
The delivery of five Rafale fighter jets this week demonstrates the continued upgrading of India’s military capabilities. A key part of this process has been the building of a domestic defence-industrial base by promoting participation of the private sector. Bringing certainty to defence procurement, monitoring emerging technologies and joining hands with like-minded countries, will play a critical role in taking this forward.
On 30th June, 2020 Gateway House in association with Konrad-Adeneur-Stiftung (KAS) co-hosted a webinar on Indo-Pacific: New Geo strategic reality.
After the strategic digital pushback against Chinese investments and apps, India should turn its attention to the biggest Chinese domination tool – 5G. This is the mother lode that enables the efficient gathering of data, which when mined, results in product enhancement and pricing benefits to products listed in China 2025 and helps China set global standards. There is an urgency for alternate suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid relying on China.
The shifting trends in trade, especially given the growth in communications capacity and reduced cost of computing have altered traditional economic development. India and Canada have a shared commercial interest in E-trade. Both countries need to align their resources to frame trade rules of the new digital economy, to mutual benefit.
Following the 15 June incident in Ladakh, India-China relations are frayed. The Indian Navy must be prepared to counter all threats posed by China’s use of un-conventional methods that subvert international rules of engagement, when under pressure.
China’s escalating actions in the wake of the COVID-19 catastrophe is a calculated strategic diversion and risk. In the Indo-Pacific, tensions between China and the U.S., Australia, India and others are building momentum. As a geopolitical partnership, the relevance of the Quad is now proven. There are clear ways to empower it immediately, and make it a resilient grouping.
At the 4 June, India-Australia, virtual summit, one of the most critical, among several agreements signed, was the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA). India has logistics support agreements with many countries. How is the MLSA with Australia any different? Given the geo-strategic maritime competition with China, this agreement is uniquely significant and could be especially beneficial for the Indian Navy.