US expert mulls idea of expanding US Indo-Pacific security alliance into Quad Plus

[TamilNet, Sunday, 03 May 2020, 22:16 GMT]
US Foreign Policy expert and Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center, Paula J. Dobriansky has mooted the idea of further expanding the emerging US-led Indo-Pacific security alliance Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) into “Quad Plus” incorporating economic security. The former security affairs diplomat has proposed to involve three states, South Korea, Vietnam and Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province. “The point would be to pair economic concerns with national-security aims, protect intellectual property, and ensure reliable access to public-health goods—so the US is no longer at the mercy of Beijing for supplies in a pandemic,” she wrote in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday.

In the meantime, Jeff Smith, a research fellow at Heritage’s Asian Studies Center, who specializes in South Asia observed that the term “Quad Plus” was recently used by the Times of India in connection with a video-conference on COVID-19. The seventh state member that took part in the “Quad-Plus video-conference” was New Zealand and not Taiwan.

However, Jeff Smith also noted that his institution was using the term “Quad-Plus Dialogue” to include Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, France, and Sri Lanka with the Quad partners since 2013.

The Times of India, in its report on 21 March 2020, said that the video-conference was also an effort to keep the Quad Plus countries “within a certain sphere of influence and strategic direction”.

“It is, therefore, significant to have New Zealand as one of the participants, given it is one of the Five Eyes countries; Vietnam is a valued partner of Japan, India and the US. South Korea is an interesting participant as well,” the Indian paper had stated.

However, a senior defence analyst at the RAND Corporation has opined that the proposed expansion could jeopardize the primary mission of the Quad. RAND analyst Derek Grossman was making his point in a commentary that appeared on The Diplomat on 09 April 2020.

The main objective of the Quad is countering China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific.

External Links:
RAND: Don't Get Too Excited, 'Quad Plus' Meetings Won't Cover China
Times of India: India joins hands with NZ, Vietnam, S Korea to combat pandemic
The Heritage Foundation: How America Is Leading the "Quad Plus" Group of 7 Countries in Fighting the Coronavirus



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