US President Joe Biden will be hosting the QUAD countries‘ heads of governments summit (QUAD summit) this coming week, in Washington D.C. comprising of the US, Japan, Australia, and India. By end of the week, there could be announcements of military deals with Japan, Australia, and India, that may total up to $100 billion in American defence exports.
In fact, the Australian submarine deal, signed on Thursday, itself is estimated at $40 billion (and projected to reach $90 billion in long-term). In the days ahead, before September 24, when the formal QUAD summit will be held, Japan could also well, and does need to, sign up for some $20-30 billion package, and the same goes for India. India too has its multiple needs for hardware, needs to ramp up fast, and thus could finalise a mega-purchase this week from the US, again in the $20-30 billion range.
Today, as the 21st century grows beyond its teen years, the US faces unprecedented global and domestic challenges. Not in the least is to overcome the snafu situation that has resulted in Afghanistan. And to counter, to deny (deny, not delay) the rise of China as a world hegemon, Middle Kingdom power, between the Heavens and Planet Earth, in the 21st century.
The US is now leading the QUAD towards a loose but muscular military alliance to prevent the planetary dominance plans of China. As part of the US plan, the Indo-Pacific nations of Japan, India, Australia will need to each boost up their defence and offence capabilities, for their own national, self-interest, with accompanying investments also made by the US in its own force projection in this theatre. Consequently, together the QUAD will become a formidable firewall to the expansionism and military adventurism of China.
It makes eminent sense for Japan, Australia, and India to urgently shore up their military and defence abilities, including tools and abilities for offence to give China a bloodied nose if it interferes in their sovereign national interests. The obvious supplier of such military hardware and capabilities are the US defence companies. The obvious payor for such procurements are the governments of Japan, Australia, and India.
A question of economic self-interest of the US also manifests at this critical junction of world history. Decoded in simple terms, the question for the US is also to identify which are the next markets for its defence industry. Thus far, in past 20 years, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were major consumers of US defence exports. Though the buyer in these cases was mostly the US government itself, but the spend benefited the sales of US defence industry.
With the for-ever wars in Iraq and Afghanistan now over. Where is the next big market for US defence exports? Thanks to China, which through its behaviour, is ensuring that the next big market for military sales by the US is in the Indo-Pacific region.
The QUAD meetings next week could therefore well and logically result in agreements that total up to $100 billion worth of American defence exports and jobs creation in America, and enhanced security for all members in the Indo-Pacific region, including the upping of the military punch of each Japan, Australia, and India with respect to China.
(Robinder Sachdev is president of the Imagindia Institute. All views expressed are personal.)