The four-nation Quad grouping may add a new layer of interactions at the level of top security officials to coordinate their posture and specific roles in the Indo-Pacific. The proposed defence secretary-level meetings, tentatively called Quad’s Defence Policy Group (DPG), would strengthen their security architecture and deepen defence cooperation between the grouping comprising the United States, India, Japan and Australia, people familiar with the matter said.
“The decision is still to be taken but scheduling a DPG at the Defence Secretary official level is being considered,” said a senior government official. News reports from Japan indicate that the next step is going to be multi-layered cooperation among Quad partners.
While the Quad virtual summit on March 12 did not discuss the threat posed by China due to the open nature of discussions, the Chinese aggression in the South China Sea and unilateral attempts to change the status quo has pushed the partners to scale up their security cooperation. The in-person Quad summit could take place on the sidelines of the G-7 summit in the UK or at the invitation of the US later. A face-to-face meeting of the Quad foreign ministers is also expected this year.
The proposed DPG mechanism will decide on the road map for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and could become an umbrella group at the official level of Quad to share information and its response to challenges.
“The DPG will decide on the scheduling of multi-lateral exercises between partners and ensure that Quad becomes a first responder to humanitarian disasters in the Indo-Pacific,” said a former foreign secretary.
The navies of Quad plus France are exercising under the “La Perouse” banner in the Bay of Bengal from April 4 to 7 with the Indian Navy sending an attack submarine and a destroyer for the war games.
News Source: Hindustan Times