In a new policy paper, Garima Mohan and I analyze the Quadrilateral grouping of Australia, India, Japan, and the United States (the Quad), which has come a long way from its origins, establishing itself as a crucial pillar of the Indo-Pacific regional architecture and significantly shifting in tone and focus from its early iterations. Since its revival in 2017, the Quad has been elevated to a leader-level dialogue, it has begun issuing joint statements, and it has developed a new working-group structure to facilitate cooperation. It has also significantly broadened and deepened its agenda to include vaccines, climate change, critical and emerging technologies, infrastructure, cyber, and space.
These recent changes to the Quad raise several questions about its future trajectory. What are the drivers of engagement, the domestic support, and the bureaucratic capacity in the four countries to continue investing in the Quad? How well does the Quad’s new working-group structure function, and will the working groups be able to deliver tangible results? How has the Quad’s agenda evolved, and will it return to its initial focus on security challenges? Are the Quad countries open to cooperation with additional countries and, if so, what form will this take?
This paper analyzes these questions drawing on recent publications, official statements, and interviews with key experts and policymakers in the four countries. In doing so, it offers five key takeaways into the Quad as an evolving part of the Indo-Pacific architecture, as well as a vehicle for achieving the goals of its four member countries.