Quad-Plus Dialogue
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The Vivekananda International Foundation hosted the third Quad Plus Dialogue at Jaipur from February 14 to 16, 2016. This initiative was started in 2013, when security and strategic affairs experts from four major think tanks—the Heritage Foundation (USA), Vivekananda International Foundation (India), the Tokyo Foundation (Japan) and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute—launched this plan, entitled the “Quad-Plus” with the aim of promoting expert discussions around shared strategic concerns among the four democracies – along with some “Plus” countries. This year the “Plus” participants came from three countries - the Pathfinder Foundation, Sri Lanka, Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia, and the Habibie Centre, Indonesia. The first dialogue was hosted by ASPI in Canberra, the second by Jakarta’s Habibie Center, and the present one by the VIF in Jaipur, India. Currently, plans are to hold the fourth dialogue in Washington DC in 2017 to coincide with the inauguration of a new administration in Washington.

Security issues and a desire for strategic balance have largely been the drivers behind the quad-plus. This concern was significantly—but not solely—driven by the reality of a rising China and questions about how to manage or deal with that development. The drivers of that shared concern were largely security issues and, thus, the focus of quad discussions about potential cooperation has been more security-oriented as well. The scope of the dialogue was expanded this year to include cooperation in the cyber and economic domains, that are important tools to broaden and deepen the engagement between the Quad Plus countries. All four countries also have interests in areas like the freedom of the seas, the shape of regional diplomatic architecture, maritime governance, counter-terrorism, and other non-traditional security issues like common responses to disaster management and the impact of climate change. The Dialogue tries to seek solutions to these challenges and the role of the Quad Plus in strengthening the current regional architecture.

The six panels of the two-day dialogue discussed The Cyber Challenge, Maritime Governance: Indian Ocean vs Pacific Ocean, China’s Place in Regional Calculations, Enabling Tools of Cooperation, Countering Terrorism/Extremism – Best Practices, and Role of the Quad-Plus. Speakers from the VIF were its Director, Gen. NC Vij, Ambassador Kanwal Sibal, Lt. Gen Ravi Sawhney, Lt. Gen Davinder Kumar, Vice Admiral Anup Singh and CII representative, Mr. Pranav Kumar. An important component of the deliberations was to assess where the Quad dialogue fits into the current mix of regional diplomatic architecture and how can it be reconciled with the functions, efficacy of the present trilaterals, formal alliances and the ASEAN-centered mechanisms by examining various dynamics that are at play in the region, including current economic initiatives like the TPP and RCEP and how effective these will be in promoting regional economic and political cooperation.

Event Date 
February 14, 2016
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