Representatives of Quad nations in Tokyo (File Photo) Photograph:( Reuters )
As China continues to increase the size of the PLA and advance their own joint capabilities, the military imbalance in the Indo-Pacific is becoming more unfavourable for the United States and its allies
It's official now. The Quad will hold its first-ever summit this week on Friday. Leaders from the United States, Japan, India and Australia will hold a virtual summit. The agenda will be wide-ranging but the focus is clear-- countering the common threat-- and the warning is specific. It comes from Admiral Philip Davidson, the commander of the US Indo-Pacific command.
Davidson says, "China is the greatest long term strategic threat to security in the 21st century and if the US and its allies do not act, they could be left behind."
China's approach to the region includes an effort of coercing, corrupt and collapse governments, businesses, organisations and the people of the Indo-Pacific.
As China continues to increase the size of the PLA and advance their own joint capabilities, the military imbalance in the Indo-Pacific is becoming more unfavourable for the United States and its allies.
So what is the threat assessment of the commander?
China is speeding up plans to overtake the US on the world stage but the threat is not limited to the US. China could invade Taiwan within the next six years. The Chinese military is expanding its assets in the region and the US believes the level of deterrence is reducing.
What about India?
The admiral had something to say about India too. It's about the border standoff. The US commander says it's not over yet. "The PLA has not yet withdrawn from several forward positions it seized following the initial clash, and the consequent escalation of tensions between the PRC and India has resulted in casualties on both sides.”
The commander believes Chinese aggression on the LAC is a manifestation of Beijing's 'expansionary territorial ambitions'. China's large-scale mobilisation of troops is a matter of concern, not just for India but for the US too. Admiral Davidson told US lawmakers that China had deployed 'roughly 50,000 soldiers' along the LAC. He believes this was a major move. Such a massive deployment on difficult terrain signals that Beijing is ready to use force to achieve desired outcomes. It raises the threat of war so any country that has interests in the Indo-Pacific, must be wary of China's growing military moves. So, what's the solution?
The US military establishment is banking on the Quad. While testifying before the lawmakers, Admiral Davidson described the Quad as ''a diamond of democracies''.
The US defence department says building alliances with partners is now 'tremendously important' as the statement suggests the Quad cannot just have a military dimension. It must have a bigger mandate. The Quad could change the way the world approaches global economy, critical technologies like telecommunications and 5G, and even collaboration on the international order.
The potential of the Quad is immense but what has been lacking is the political will as the leaders sit down for their first summit on this Friday. They should appreciate the weight of expectations and the criticality of their situation.