The highly space-capable Quad powers have agreed to share their respective satellite datasets for monitoring climate change, disasters and the use of natural resources. With global security encompassing armed confrontation to environmental damage, the Quad’s planetary collaboration will go a long way in protecting the green and blue environment.
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On September 24, the Quad leaders will attend the first in-person summit of the grouping in Washington DC. There is much to discuss for the four leaders, given recent developments: the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) security partnership and the EU's new Indo-Pacific strategy. The Quad also needs to focus on long term goals like institutionalising itself and devising a strategy to counter the China challenge.
Sanctions are an important foreign policy tool, used especially by the West against its adversaries. Now, these rivals are retaliating with counter-sanctions. Are these effective? How does this impact global politics? Where does India stand in this free-for-all sanctions era?
Three senior U.S. officials visited Asia in July in a well-choreographed diplomatic outreach strategy by the Biden administration. The U.S is willing to prioritise the Indo-Pacific and counter China. Asia cannot afford to be a reticent bystander.
India’s oil consumption and imports are likely to resume their upward trajectory as the economy opens up, after a temporary drop due to the pandemic. To secure its energy needs, the country should shift course from investing in oil and gas assets of emerging economies to those of developed nations. The oil-rich Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, such as Canada, Norway, and the U.S. can be given special consideration.
As China’s global competitive edge is sharpening across the military, economic, diplomatic, and technological domains, it is clear that the extent to which the Quad countries (Australia, India, Japan, and the United States) can collaborate across all four domains will be an important factor in determining whether China’s hegemonic designs on the Indo-Pacific will succeed.
The EU’s Indo-Pacific strategy comes better late than never. But it has to step gingerly. It cannot antagonize China, wants to build on the legacy of its members’ colonial past, give the region the infrastructure it needs, and make the trade agreements that it wants. Is it achievable?
Individuals now generate copious amounts of personal data everyday – both online and offline. Devices and infrastructure extract data, which can be shared instantly across borders with diverse entities - without consent. It is imperative that countries come together to create regulations to protect individuals who are unable to control how their data is shared and processed. A model already exists in the Paris Climate Agreement.
As 2021 opens, the post-COVID world can expect some changes in the geopolitics of Asia. It will involve altering equations in the Indo-Pacific among major, middle and small powers. These will fluctuate with characteristic familiarity, creating instability, tensions and strife, but not leading to military conflict – barring an unforeseen accident. Post-COVID, the world will be uncertain and complex.
Should the Quad be formalized? It has evolved from a crisis response group in 2004 to a strategic partnership today between the four member-countries – India, the U.S., Australia and Japan. There are benefits and challenges to the institutionalisation of the Quad which require timely analysis, especially as the group has renewed vigour this year with the COVID-19 pandemic and China’s aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.