The Indo-Pacific region houses the largest share of global GDP, the world’s busiest trade routes, largest population and most powerful militaries.
After having successfully worked side by side in coordinating the 2004 tsunami relief, in 2007 Australia, India, Japan and the US (the Quad, short for Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) held meetings with each other to discuss security-related issues, and their navies held a military exercise.
Although the grouping ended its activities prematurely in 2008, China’s growing assertiveness in the region prompted it to remain active in bilateral and trilateral cooperation on security issues. Meetings among senior officials resumed in November 2017 in Manila. In November 2020, the Quad navies held a major military exercise.
The first Quad summit took place in March 2021. The grouping has emphasised that its goal is to maintain the liberal rules-based international order, which China seeks to undermine through a revisionist challenge of the status quo. Its efforts are not focused on creating institutions or military alliances, but rather, on generating gradual convergence of cooperation on multiple issues, including Covid-19, climate change, critical and emerging technologies, counterterrorism, cybersecurity and disaster recovery.
Establishing further cooperation with other like-minded countries in the region and co-existing with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) are among the Quad’s future challenges. The EU is not a traditional security player in the Indo-Pacific; however, as the region is particularly relevant to its trade, it has a strong interest in avoiding disruption of the sea lanes.
The Indo-Pacific could be an area of cooperation with the new US administration. France, Germany and the Netherlands have published strategies or guidelines for the Indo-Pacific region, which has stepped up expectations about the forthcoming strategy for the region by the EU as a whole.
Source : © European Union, 2021 – EP