Quad is becoming a key post-Covid-19 coalition

Quad-core is part of computer vocabulary, but may equally apply to the heart of a post-coronavirus pandemic world order. The United States (US) has been holding high-level conversations with clusters of governments about the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and what comes after. India was party to the most recent one, a foreign minister-level meeting, which also included Japan, Australia, South Korea, Brazil and Israel. A regular weekly meeting is now held at the foreign secretary-level, which replaces the last two (Brazil and Israel) with New Zealand and Vietnam. What is common to both are the four members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, generally called the Quad. If this pattern continues, it will indicate Washington and the three other members see as a cornerstone of a post-Covid-19 world.

The Quad is far from being a group with a coherent purpose. What has happened is that all four governments have come to accept that they are strategically committed to the organisation. India’s concerns that Australia lacked a domestic consensus on the Quad is a case in point. China’s global standing is much reduced by Covid-19, a status aggravated by its bullying tactics, and has left a space for this sort of alignment. Of all the members, New Delhi will be least interested in talk of an alliance. It has arguably the best working relationship with Beijing and alone lacks a formal US military relationship. However, this is a foursome that has begun to evolve rapidly into something larger than the sum of its parts and, rightly, is being kept on the top of the stack of geopolitical options.

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