Leaders of the Quad alliance – Australia, India, Japan and the United States – met on Tuesday and revealed initiatives to strengthen collaboration on emerging technologies and cybersecurity, with a tacit subtext of neutralizing the China.
“Today we – Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan and President Joe Biden of the United States – meet in Tokyo to renew our unwavering commitment to an inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific,” the Quad said in a very formal statement.
The nations also said they “strongly oppose any coercive, provocative or unilateral action aimed at changing the status quo and increasing tensions in the region.”
The Quad could offer an alternative to the Chinese techno-authoritarian model
The Quad led six executive-level working groups, the results of which were sometimes vague. Like a Quad Infrastructure Coordination Group that aims to improve digital connectivity and supply chains, without explicitly explaining how this will be done.
The four nations discussed semiconductor capacity and supply chain gaps, with a Statement from the White House claiming that the talks have laid the “foundation” for improvements. The Quad also explored open and secure telecommunications technologies, and expressed a taste for shared work on Open RAN technology.
All agreed to establish a standard for government software procurement, improve information sharing among Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), and engage in awareness campaigns, including including a Cybersecurity Day campaign that will provide basic cyberhealth training to vulnerable populations in partnership with industry, non-profits and academia.
The team divided cybersecurity tasks, placing Australia in charge of critical infrastructure protection, India in charge of resilience and supply chain security, Japan in charge of developing the workforce and talent, and the United States in charge of software security standards.
Among the concrete announcements was a program funding 100 sponsored places for graduates to study graduate STEM subjects in the United States, and a near real-time tracking effort of the waters surrounding Southeast Asia and the north of Australia, including the disputed South China Sea.
All of the above makes sense, but the effectiveness of delivery and results have yet to be assessed.
And the Quad’s ability to succeed has been called into question by the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET) think tank, which this week released a brief assess past Quad collaborations.
The brief revealed systemic issues.
According to CSET, the Quad could “offer an alternative to China’s techno-authoritarian model of developing and using technology”, but it faces significant obstacles such as “different approaches to data governance, economic and technological factors and diverging geopolitical priorities”. “
Other criticisms include that while the United States collaborates extensively with other member countries, it collaborates little with each other. And all nations have deep ties to China, both in AI research and investment.
“The Quad provides a forum to build trust, identify research joint venture opportunities, and bring together entrepreneurs, investors, and strategic AI industry partners to increase and diversify technology collaboration. But the prospects for its success largely depend on building stronger ties among U.S. allies beyond their bilateral ties with the United States,” the CSET researchers explained.
The four Quad members have also signed the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). IPEF has more members and is designed to promote regional prosperity, with the White House saying it negotiates the “rules of the road that ensure [US businesses] can compete in the Indo-Pacific.” ®