The proposal for quadrilateral cooperation among India, Japan, Australia and the United States is one of those ideas that cannot be killed easily. The proposal assumes significance as China has emerged as a great power, C. Raja Mohan, Director, Carnegie India and Contributing Editor on Foreign Policy with The Indian Express wrote. “The fear of China’s growing unilateralism drives Asian nations to reduce the regional imbalance by banding together. But the attractions of doing business with China and the dangers of provoking it to limit the impulses for collective action against Beijing,” Mohan said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had conceived the idea of Asian democracies joining forces. In a book published in 2006 just before he began his first tenure as PM Abe had called for a quadrilateral dialogue among Japan, India, Australia and the United States. At the end of 2006, during his visit to Tokyo, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh endorsed the idea of a new dialogue among “like-minded countries” in Asia.
At the receiving end of Chinese power, Japan thinks it must proactively shape Asian regional environment. As foreign minister Kano put it, “We are in an era when Japan has to exert itself diplomatically by drawing a big strategic picture.” As a rising power in its own right, New Delhi argues, India must demonstrate the will to influence geopolitical outcomes in Asia and beyond, Mohan said.
On October 28, the US is looking at a “working-level” quadrilateral meeting in the near term with India, Japan and Australia and offer countries in the Indo- Pacific region an alternative to predatory financing or unsustainable debt, the Trump Administration has said. The US had come out in support of the Japanese move in this regard, which was revealed early this week by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono in an interview to Nikkei business daily, by asserting that the quadrilateral group is a “natural stepping stone” from the very productive trilateral conversations, exercises, and cooperation it has had with Japan and Australia.