US President Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a new defense pact between the US, the UK, and Australia on Wednesday.
Political pundits believe that this alliance is created to counter China, as Quad fails to do so.
Australia is clearly aiming for a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to patrol the maritime region. This is naturally being viewed as an upgrade to the deal inked with France in 2016, which would have delivered conventionally powered submarines instead.
The United Kingdom sees this as the first clear opportunity after Brexit to ‘reassert itself on the international stage’.
This post-Brexit global Britain was used as a reason to isolate itself from Europe and hence engaging in an alliance that is centered on the Indo-Pacific region is a direct way for Johnson and his government to reinsert the UK back into the power circles of the international community.
Cold War Against China
China is stating that this is an attempt to start a new Cold War, but its muted reaction indicates it is still assessing what this pact will imply for the Indo-Pacific region.
The alternative economic approach that China is looking to institute—evidenced by OBOR and CPEC—goes beyond a mere defense-oriented partnership with allies and neighboring states. This is why it will be interesting to see whether a conventional pact of more submarines in contested waters will elicit an overly hostile response.
Why QUAD Failed?
One of the main reasons QUAD failed is non-other than “India.” India was never ready to stand up and challenge the Dragon. Indian forces and think tanks always made their strategies while keeping Pakistan in mind, it was for the first time in history they went face to face with China.
India was also not in a position to afford the cost of provoking China and aligning itself completely with Washington. Currently, Indian armed forces are heavily relying on Russian weapons and equipment; which — most of it — is outdated.
To give a tough time to China, India requires the latest, state of the art, US military equipment; which remains too expensive for India to afford.
On the other side, Japan is also not ready to take the pain of standing against an emerging world superpower. Recently, Yoshihide Suga, PM of Japan, announced his resignation. It is believed among international analysts that Suga is not ready to take all the pressure in aligning Japan in anti-China block.