The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad comprising Australia, India, Japan and the United States (US) initially sought to address non-traditional security challenges in the backdrop of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004.
The present Quad engagement reflects ‘informal’ arrangement of these states with a scope of further expansion of actors as well as areas of cooperation. Australia’s minister for foreign affairs, Marise Payne, after the India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue on September 11, has strengthened this point by saying that Quad supports the Association of southeast Asian Nations (Asean)’s centrality.
It provides for Asean principles of cooperation as a pivotal factor for Quad engagements in future. It is ‘informal’ in the sense that there are no formal agreements for Quad among the Quad states, and it is without a secretariat.
Quad is an expansion and elevation of bilateral exchanges as in Australia-India relations, according to Marise Payne, which can bring together actors like Quad and other regional arrangements such as East Asian Summit and Asean Regional Forum.
It is worthwhile to mention that the Asean states would not want to turn themselves into an ‘outlier’ to Asean principle of ‘neutrality’ and ‘inclusivity’ because Asean plays a critical role in shaping an ‘independent’ voice and foreign policy.