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Importance of Indo-Pacific

Indo-Pacific is the term depicting the region surrounding the Indian and Pacific ocean. This region has emerged as a key player in inter-state co-operation and is of great significance in many ways. The region has gained enormous political, strategic, and economic importance in recent times.
|| By Tanishq Mohan

Prominent players in the Indo-Pacific region include India, Japan, China, and Australia and different island states in its rim. With the rise of these nations,the long-standing unilateral world order led by the USA started to bifurcate. These countries are developing rapidly in fields like military, economy, technology. It was Japan who had pounced on the idea of India, Australia, USA, and itself working together strategically in 2007 but it was not until 2017 that The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue was formed.

The economic importance of this region keeps tickling the Chinese government from time to time. The region of the South China sea has huge amounts of natural resources. In 2013, the US Energy Information Administration estimated that the South China Sea contained resources equating to 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of gas. Another research by CNOOC estimates higher at 125 billion barrels of oil and 500 trillion cubic feet of gas. It is unknown why they are so different. Long story short, the region is of immense economic value and it has caused disputes among countries like Philippines and China, North Korea and South Korea over ownership of these resources. Such disputes might rage considering the present wounded international scenario. Thus, the Quad becomes important. The formation of quad is in such a manner that it can limit such baseless claims. All four countries are familiar with Chinese expansionist attitude and have some bitter experiences with it.

Indo-Pacific cooperation becomes even more important when it comes to Taiwan. It is a small island country located in the South of Japan. China claims this to be a part of its territory while Taiwan calls itself as a sovereign nation. Taiwan receives support from all quad countries over its sovereignty the most from the USA. This might be because if China anyhow maintains control over Taiwan, there would be no mainland body lying between China and the US. It means capturing Taiwan would give straight access to China towards North America and South America.The construction of artificial islands on coral reefs symbolizes that Taiwan can be captured if Beijing wills.

This grouping is not just to tackle Chinese aggression as it looks at the scratch. Starting from the eastern coast of Africa and going on to the western coasts of the Americas, these oceans are trading centers for around 65 percent of the world’s population. The quad has also focused on economic development and addressing climate change. During Covid-19, quad launched “Quad Vaccine Partnership”. It was large scale task was carried out by quad, India manufactured vaccines, Japan and USA shared the technology while Australia provided the logistical support. Another goal is to generate energy through renewable resources like hydro-power. This would ultimately reduce dependence on non-renewable energy sources like fuel.

The quad has conducted military exercises like the Malabar military drill. The group has not been to any conflict so far and does not contain binding agreements like NATO. The quad has faced criticism from China as an attempt to lock its influence in the region but Quad has not accepted it and has remained open for dialogues with other countries.

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