Australia, India, Japan and the US should should work with partner countries to oppose the establishment of permanent Chinese military bases in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), according to a key recommendation made by four think tanks from Quad countries.
A list of 20 policy recommendations for the Quad countries by the think tanks were released here today.
They suggested the Quad nations should work in the IOR to help maintain independent security and economic policies by supporting high-quality alternatives to unilateral Chinese investments and “political alignments with regional objectives”.
The Indo-Pacific has been witnessing China muscling in, especially in the hydrocarbon-rich South China Sea that has multiple claimants. China has also been aggressively wooing developing countries with infrastructure projects which have dubbed by critics as a debt traps.
One of the suggestions for the US and Japan was also to consider participation in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to encourage high-standards for projects involving China and to build their economic cooperation with others, including Australia and Japan.
“Australia, India, Japan and the US should should work with partner countries to oppose establishment of permanent Chinese military bases in the IOR.
“This should include demonstrating to China that its security needs can be met through cooperation and consultation with other nations and without recourse to a disruptive unilateral military presence,” a recommendation said.
The think tanks, Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan, Vivekananda India Foundation (VIF), Australia National University, and Sasakawa Peace Foundation, USA, came together to form the ‘Quadripartite Commission on Indian Ocean Regional Security’.
They also suggested that India, the US and Japan should invite Australia to participate in the currently trilateral maritime exercise.
“Australia, India, Japan and the US should enhance sea land defence capabilities in the Indian Ocean. Each nation will need to make judgement about its capabilities based on its interests.
“For instance, naval fleet will need to evolve to allow increasingly long-range operations. This may require consideration in Japan of new options such as nuclear propulsion for its submarines,” said one of the recommendations.
The report also suggests that the Quad countries should cooperate with and support the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and other regional framework in the Indian Ocean and South Asia.
Quad is a grouping of four countries to pursue their common interest in the Indo-Pacific. The leaders of the four countries met at Manila in November last year to hold their first talks. In June, senior officials of the Quad countries held their second consultative meeting in Singapore on the sidelines of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations senior officials meeting.
Hideki Asari, the deputy chief of the Mission of Japan, who was also present at the event, said the officials agreed to meet regularly to deepen the discussion on various issues.