The global security specialists perceive Australia rejoining the biggest naval drill in the region it as a significant development of the powerful like-minded democracies which will create deterrence against the increasing aggression and hostility of Communist China to fellow countries in the region.
Since thuggish and criminal-posture like Chines Communist apparatchik Mr. Xi Jinping announced himself a life-long leader of the Beijing regime, the climate of peace and peace prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region dramatically changed. The threat of hot war is once again high in Asia. Some analysts assessed it at the level of the Pearl Harbor attacks. As it has been clear that Communist China is an enemy of democratic nations in the Pacific Region, its armies are trying to send a loud signal to that he would not enjoy the fruits of the invasion of any free territory or country in Asia without paying the cost of the devastating war against his regime.
Last week Mr Xi visiting the naval special unit in Guangdong Province in the south of the country urged the military to “focus on war preparedness and combat capabilities” and called for a speedier upgrade of their combat capabilities “to forge a powerful troop, with battlewise soldiers." On October 14, Communist China conducted new naval exercises on October 14 in the South China Sea region.
It is in this context, India, which was itself attacked on its Himalayan border twice by the Chinese military last month, has invited Australia to join its annual maritime drill called Malabar with the United States and Japan in the Bay of Bengal. Four countries constitute the Quad group, which is a forum of close consultations and discussions of like-minded democracies.
Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the Malabar drills were a milestone opportunity for the Australian Defence Force and that they showcased "the deep trust between four major Indo-Pacific democracies and their shared will to work together on common security interests."
Fearing the loss of the economic benefits in 2017, India withdrew an invitation for Australia to Malabar after Beijing loudly complained.
But this time is different, the observers emphasised. With an increasing amount of barriers to the Chinese market, the majority of Australian producers, except those who are nearly indistinguishable from the Chinese businessmen with its documented vast network of friendships with Chinese military like Mr. Andrew Forrest, have been facing unjust treatment by Beijing, Canberra is cautiously but decisively looking for limiting its relations with Communist China.
The new activity within Quad follows closely on the US President Trump administration’s push for the group to serve as the core of a more formal “Asian NATO” to constrain China.
Communist-run Vietnam, a key smaller nation on China’s periphery, also gave fresh signs Monday of an eagerness to align with the Quad for economic and military security. During his first foreign visit, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, in his first foreign trip since succeeding Shinzo Abe last month, and the Communist Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc signed an agreement for Japan to begin exporting defense equipment to Vietnam.
Mr. Suga said a key thrust of his four-day trip to Vietnam and Indonesia was to pursue economic and security cooperation to counter Chinese growing power and to protect sea lanes in disputed areas of the South China Sea.
It is improbable that Communist Vietnam or the Philippines will join, soon the Quad, if it becomes, indeed, NATO of Asia since the alliance is an institution of the democratic nations to promote security through the promotion of democratic values and cooperation and guarantee security for one another. The famous Article 5 of the North Atlantic Alliance states that all of the members, including the United States, will defend any member attacked by the aggressor.
Asian NATO will be a unique alliance
It is unclear what the concept of Asian NATO would be, but one thing is certain that the logic of the new alliance would not match the NATO original. It needs to address the requirements unique to the region, including cost-sharing.
Past efforts for an East Asian security alliance, such as the post-World War II Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) to guard against Cold War- era communism, failed to gain lasting traction.
That was before China’s emergence as a rising superpower. Mr. Abe first suggested a strategic forum in 2007, and the US President Trump administration embraced it as part of its 2017 Indo-Pacific strategy. Many now argue that the Quad is ripe for expansion.
India’s invitation and Australia’s acceptance to participate next month in the Malabar joint naval exercises with the U.S. and Japan reinforce the fact that the Quad finally has legs, stated Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the Wilson Center.
India will decide whether Asian NATO is formed
The fact that all four countries will be participating in a major training exercise is no small matter, Mr. Kugelman stated, although he cautioned against reading too deeply into the development.
I would not, however, suggest that Australia’s inclusion in the Malabar exercise means that the Quad is evolving into something NATO-like, Mr. Kugelman said.
The other specialists were also cautious to announce Australia's participation in the four nations naval drill a development which can lead to the establishment of Asian NATO.
It’s a positive sign that India has taken the initiative here by reaching out to the Australians to conduct military exercises along with the U.S. and Japan, David Maxwell, a retired U.S. Special Forces colonel and East Asia expert with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said in an interview Monday.
I’m worried when we call it a ‘NATO- like’ architecture because it’s got to be Asia unique, he said. We certainly need these relationships of like-minded countries, but not necessarily in the European style.
Although Japan and Australia appear to be giving “strong support” to the notion of a beefed-up Quad aimed at countering China, he said, India remains the wild card.