“Transformation of QUAD into a military alliance and Policy options for Pakistan” – Webinar by Pakistan House

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Islamabad; One Day Webinar on Transformation of QUAD into a military alliance and Policy options for Pakistan was held by Pakistan House Islamabad on  28 , May 2021. The moderator Muhammad Athar Javed, DG Pakistan House initiated the webinar with these remarks;

“I welcome you all on this very important webinar “Transformation of Quad into a Military Alliance and Policy Options for Pakistan”. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is the informal strategic dialogue between India, the USA, Japan, and Australia. The Quad was established, primarily as a strategic bloc, to counter China’s aggressive stance in the South China Sea. The four Quad members have played a major role in purposefully redefining the “Asia-Pacific” as the “Indo-Pacific”, to deepen trans-regional ties between the Indian and Pacific Ocean areas, and to, in their words, deal more effectively with rise of China, the Middle East and Africa. “Whoever controls the Indian Ocean dominates Asia. This ocean is the key to the seven seas in the twenty-first century, the destiny of the world will be decided in these waters. Today we have National and international speakers who are going to shed light on the topic “Transformation of Quad into a Military Alliance and Policy Options for Pakistan” we will get to know how why it is important for India, Japan, U.S and Australia to go to that side, the trade war between the U.S. and China the role of India.

Mr. Raffaello Pantucci, Former Director International Security Program RUSI, UK shared that 

“If we look at the history, the QUAD came into being back in 2007 by Japan and the U.S. The alliances were being made by Japan of kike minded powers. Since the inception of QUAD, many parties withdraw because the trend was becoming more anti-Chinese and QUAD was becoming a single-minded loose alliance. India has also not being entirely comfortable with anti-China sentiment in the QUAD. Even though India considers China as a competitor and has been in many hostile confrontation with it, it still shares trade ties with China. But we should not overlook the role of Australia, Japan and India to push the anti-China sentiment every now and then. In the case of United States, many meeting with QUAD were held under Trump administration but there were not significant and substantial outcomes. Though, under Biden administration the diplomacy is improving i.e. COIVS-19 vaccine diplomacy to use QUAD as a tool to monitor more of China’s facets. Japan and India share borders with China which is why functional relations are highly required. Now the question is what should be Pakistan’s response? It completely depends on Pakistan. China has been in several confrontational situations but shares a great relation with Pakistan. But it cannot be ignored that Pakistan choosing to maintain distance from QUAD is also a product of this good relation. The iron brotherhood has compelled Pakistan to stay excluded even though Pakistan can be benefitted from QUAD COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy. It is on Pakistan to define or redefine her subtle policy.

Dr. Khurram Iqbal, Acting Head of Department IR at the National Defense University of Pakistan said;

“QUAD has not evolved inti a security alliance which is why we should avoid the temptations to think that it will. There are few points regarding the inhibition of QUAD turning into a military alliance. America’s inability to provide a viable alternative is one of them. America pushes small states to corner sides in order to make alliances. During the recent visits of Senator Pompeo, it was quite evident that U.S. was still claiming that either you are with us or you are not. Pompeo use very confrontational language during many of his visits. Trump administration was treating China and India the same by imposing high tariffs and the recent blockage of freedom of movement made thinkers to believe if U.S. is a reliable patron. In case of India, the erosion of democracy in India which was the corner stone in the formation of QUAD. But, the democracy has eroded in India and it has been demoted to “partially free state’ from “free state” under the BJP rule. India has committed many human rights violation in Kashmir as well. This non-alignment is woven into Indian pattern. The extreme minded have overcome the democracy minded. Economic interdependent between China and the QUAD members is there. In COVID-19 stricken world, China’s economy is gradually pacing up and in no time it will become stronger with better bargaining position. QUAD member’s dependence on China economically is great. India, in order to recover economically, will have to look at China. China has also suggested India to stop being U.S. pawn. QUAD has its fair share of achieves driving from QUAD to QUAD Plus and many upgradation of mutual ties. Pakistan is in political and strategic convergence with QUAD members other than India. Pakistan will not accept India as a regional policeman if that is what U.S. is hoping to do.”

Lt. General (Retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi HI (M), Former Defense Minister and Defense Secretory stressed that 

“The U.S. is reasserting its influence on the world again, as its hegemonic position seems to be waning away with the rise of China. The U.S. and its allies constructed a World Order through which they control the strategy and politics across the globe. This World Order has been labelled as a “Rule Based World Order,” which is a self-made construction of the powerful to justify their actions. China is a revisionist state which is challenging this World Order. Although China’s emerging on the chessboard of international politics, but there are areas in which it needs to rise rapidly to match the superpower status of the U.S., such as perception management and media. Through QUAD, the U.S. and its allies are attempting to contain the rise of China. QUAD is a military alliance right now, but it is moving towards forming naval alliance. Russia is skeptical of India’s inclusion in the QUAD. Policy options for Pakistan are that it should keep a neutral stance and strengthen its diplomatic ties with Japan, South Korea and other states that might be included in QUAD but not at the expense of its friendship with China.”

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, Professor at School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad was of the view that

“States today are moving towards aggressive policies, which is evident in the measures taken by the U.S., Russia, China and even India. U.S. has perceived China as an aggressor state, which is obvious in many of their state documents. The decision makers in the U.S. believe that China has been using its money to threaten other states to join its bloc against U.S. Analysts believe that QUAD is a new kind of 21st Century security alliance and countering China’s rise remains high on the agenda of the QUAD. China views QUAD as Asian NATO, as it is decreasing the security of non-member states in the region. However, U.S. has rejected this narrative, as QUAD members are not bound by compulsions of Article 5 of NATO Charter. If India joins QUAD it will be detrimental for the interests of Pakistan as well as China. India will be able to advance strategically and QUAD might help it to rise from a middle power status to great power status. India’s approach to QUAD is for the sake of balancing along with those states that are threatened with the rise of China. Through QUAD, India might try to isolate Pakistan globally. The geostrategic rivalries are deepening. Biden administration is investing in the new alliance so that it can contain China.”

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