The US, Australia, Japan and India – also called “Quad”, met recently in Singapore for “consultations on regional and global issues of common interest.” The biggest concern of Quad, according to the Chinese media is how to contain the rise of China and curtail its global influence. EurAsian Times analyses a report in Chinese media.
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Aim of US, Australia, Japan, India in the “Quad”?
To provide an alternative model to China’s ways of lending for infrastructure projects, “which has in some cases saddled poorer nations with debt and increased their dependence on Beijing,” said Bloomberg.
As per Chinese state media, the global times: there is no clue to what this “alternative model” is. If the US, Australia, Japan and India simply aim to rival with the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative (BRI), rather than helping regional economies, their tactic is bound to fail. Because in that case, what they advocate is a political model, not an economic solution.
The GT writes: Earlier this week, US Vice President Mike Pence revealed a loan of $60 billion to support infrastructure projects in Indo-Pacific countries. But are there any additional political strings attached to it, questions the report?
Many developing countries find it hard to get loans from Western nations either because their political systems are not in line with the West or due to their reluctance to copy Western political standards. The Quad is only repeating history. How could it expect to replace the BRI, questions the GT report?
Earlier in 2015, Tokyo announced a plan to provide $110 billion in aid for Asian infrastructure projects. Due to Tokyo’s rich in experience and sound GDP, in infrastructure construction and its investment was welcomed by regional nations. However, GT notes that Tokyo’s plan is complementary to the BRI, competition between the two is benefiting regional developing countries.
Australia, on the other hand, unveiled a $1.4 billion infrastructure fund for the South Pacific earlier this month. However, compared with the huge demand of emerging Asian economies, the number is only a drop in the ocean. It better figure out how to raise more money first.
GT states that India is worse. As a country well known for low governing efficiency, how can it possibly make the quick decision of investing overseas? India has an extremely poor track record in infrastructure development projects and meeting construction deadlines and seldom does an Indian project gets finished on time.
The report states that – all four nations US, Australia, Japan and India of the “Quad fail to realize that lending for infrastructure projects in Asia is not about debt burden, but about whether they actually care about Asia’s development, and more significantly, how much they are capable of investing in it.
When they are trying to persuade the region that they are competent to fulfil its development dreams, they are misrepresenting themselves with a delusive promise of an “alternative model”. Our suggestion is, instead of being the loudest in the room, why doesn’t the Quad complete a mega-infrastructure program of its own that differs from the BRI they repeatedly denounce, concludes the report.