Coronavirus: Covid-19

Significance of Quad While Coronavirus is at Play/ Coronavirus Pandemic- China & The Quad

The pandemic unleashed on humankind in the form of COVID-19, a sub-set of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), has had an unprecedented effect on the world. An effect that has changed the world from what we have known it so far, a change that will not only last a long time but will create an entirely new eco-system from the one that has existed this past century. The sheer enormity of the change will transform not only the economies of states and the consequent effect on their respective populations, the resultant global effect will, in all likelihood, see a major geopolitical shift. A cataclysmic shifting and resultant fissures in geopolitical fault lines will mark the era post the 2020 pandemic and the spread of the virulent COVID-19.

Conspiracy theories are rife in the social media and the finger pointing is solely directed towards China. History will record the findings some day and apportion the blame but the fact that that the origins were in Wuhan, in the Hubei province of China cannot be wished away. The rapid spread through Europe, especially Italy, which (it is to be believed) has a strong commercial resonance with China, the spread through the US and the rest of the world, crippling life and economy, has further fueled the theories, with the added information of China recovering from the pandemic while the world remains debilitated. The stronger the conspiracy theories grow, the greater the alienation that will be directed towards China from the rest of the world. The sheer impact and the widespread economic downturn have resulted in a security concern for all, especially those who had plenty and will now face a steeper path to limp back to their superior levels. Insecurity always leads the way to friendships and alignments and geopolitics is no stranger to such matrimonies or alliances.

Among the nations that are likely to come out economically viable / stable and recover well (other than the rogue country, China) are possibly Japan, India, South Korea and Israel. Australia, because of its low density of population and its health care systems is also likely to bounce back adequately to support itself and get back to business. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD or the Quad) was developed as an informal strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, Australia and India. With the United States taking a huge beating, if there is a considered rogue nation at this point in time, there is no better moment than now for the Quad to come together and formulate its future trajectory. While the proposed convergence of the Quad was towards regional economic and development needs, it is time to expand the scope to the creation of an inclusive organization that would be able to stand in opposition to an ever increasing singular polarity, which is pointing towards China. This is the time to identify what the world is up against in the next 50 years and take cognitive steps to foment relationships that will ensure democratic and economic survivability for the world.

Author: Air Marshal Sumit Mukherji
The writer has served the IAF as a fighter pilot with distinction. He has Commanded three units, a MiG- 29 Sqn, a MiG-25 SR Sqn and TACDE (considered the ‘Top Gun’ school of the IAF). He has also served as the Air Attache in Washington DC

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