The new kid on the block—the quadrilateral grouping or Quad—comprising the US, Japan, Australia and India has caught the fancy of the world. Nonetheless, it is as important not to take the eyes off the riveting and enduring drama featuring the US, China, Russia and India—the original Quad—that has been playing out for decades.
The next episode, a crucial one, will be scripted by Presidents Biden and Putin in Geneva on June 16, which could have far-reaching implications.
But rewinding a bit, this is what a bewildered time traveller from 1979 was heard muttering—“Surreal, that impoverished China wants to be the new hegemon and has become a global challenge! What happened to the bonhomie and promise between Beijing and Washington?
When on earth did Moscow and Beijing become pals again, leave alone hinting at a possible alliance? And, did Nixon not order the USS Enterprise into the Bay of Bengal in 1971 to intimidate India?”
“Non-aligned India a ‘Major Defence Partner’ and a ‘Comprehensive Global Strategic’ partner of the US? And the Teflon-coated Soviet empire has withered away? A cloud over India-Russia relations? Can’t handle it!” With this, the ‘gentle’ time traveller promptly retreated into the comfort of 1979.
However, those of us who are still breathing despite the havoc caused by the Wuhan virus do not have such a luxury or option.