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Strategic moves against China

China is worried about the Quad as the US views the budding alliance as a springboard for its policy in the Indo-Pacific and India sees in it a strategic counterweight to a belligerent Beijing.

Published: 28th June 2021 12:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2021 12:09 AM   |  A+A-

China, India, Communist Party, Xi Jiniping, Chinese aggression

(Express Illustrations | Amit Bandre)

Strategic affairs analyst Brahma Chellaney pointed at something that has gone unnoticed after the recent G7 Summit. In his briefing, US President Joe Biden referred to a conversation he had with a Chinese leader in the run-up to his election. The latter apparently suggested that if elected, he had better not get the Quad—an informal grouping of India, Japan, Australia and America—working together. This shows China is worried about the Quad as the US views the budding alliance as a springboard for its policy in the Indo-Pacific and India sees in it a strategic counterweight to a belligerent Beijing.

There is, of course, more to the G7 Summit than this passing reference. Biden has tried to rally his allies, despite reservations by some, to challenge the rising Chinese aggression. The G7 made all the right noises—from seeking transparency on the origin of the Wuhan virus and human rights violations in Xinjiang to Taiwan tensions and adopting what Biden called the Build Back Better World (B3W) idea. The last is supposed to be a $40 trillion funding programme to finance infrastructure development in middle and poor income countries as an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative that is accused of pushing nations into a debttrap. Whether the G7 means what it says remains a million dollar question.

The upshot of all this, however, is interesting. There is surely a realisation that China can be countered only through alliances of democratic nations. With economies enmeshed with China, no single country can stand up to its economic bullying. Even among the G7, there is reluctance on the part of countries like Germany to antagonise China, which exported merchandise worth $2.59 trillion and imported $2.05 trillion in 2020. China may mend its ways only if it feels the pinch economically, for which trade and economic ties among democracies must be increased as also intelligence and security cooperation. India faces a peculiar challenge. Can it continue pushing for the Quad while being a part of the BRICS? Strategic autonomy shouldn’t result in strategic confusion. A bipartisan consensus on China needs to be achieved internally and a strategic vision articulated.



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