QUAD – Quadrilateral Security Dialogue: Full Form, Headquarters, QUAD Countries | QUAD UPSC

By Balaji

Updated on: February 17th, 2023

QUAD – Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD); the QUAD is an informal strategic forum with the primary objective of working for a free, open, prosperous, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. The QUAD Countries include four nations: the USA, India, Australia, and Japan. The forum traced its genesis to 2004, when the four countries came together to coordinate relief operations in the aftermath of the tsunami. In 2007, the group again met on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) sidelines. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was the first to pitch the idea for the formation of QUAD in 2007.

In recent times, the QUAD can be seen in the news because of the current ongoing geopolitical condition in the world. It is relevant from the UPSC Exam point of view. Candidates must remember the QUAD countries, the headquarters, and the full form. Through this article, they can also remember the principles and significance of QUAD, along with the Spirit of QUAD and the QUAD Plus.

Table of content

  • 1. QUAD (more)
  • 2. Formation of QUAD (more)
  • 3. QUAD Countries (more)
  • 4. Spirit of QUAD (more)
  • 5. QUAD Principles (more)
  • 6. Significance of QUAD (more)
  • 7. QUAD Summit 2022 (more)
  • 8. QUAD Summit 2023 (more)
  • 9. Challenges Before QUAD (more)
  • 10. QUAD UPSC (more)
  • 11. QUAD UPSC Questions (more)


QUAD is an informal strategic forum comprising the USA, India, Australia, and Japan. Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe formalized the forum in 2007. The prime focus of the QUAD group is to establish a free and secure Indo-Pacific region.


QUAD Plus is an Indo-Pacific Mini lateral engagement that integrates other vital emerging economies into the QUAD. Furthermore, it offers a multipolar vision that allows us to analyze and assess the multilateral growth of nations involved in QUAD. Therefore the QUAD Plus can be seen as an extension of the existing QUAD.

In contrast to the QUAD Plus, which has largely aimed to create a cooperation framework to address shared International challenges, the QUAD continues to be strategic in dialogue and exam issues related to Maritime infrastructure technology and health challenges.

QUAD Full Form

The QUAD Full Form is Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. The QUAD Countries include the United States of America (USA), India, Australia, and Japan.

Formation of QUAD

The timeline of events that led to QUAD- Quadrilateral Security Dialogue formation are:

2007: Asian Arc of Democracy

  • The Quadrilateral was supposed to form an ‘Asian Arc of Democracy’. Ultimately, it was envisioned to include countries in Mongolia, the Korean Peninsula, Central Asia, and some other countries in South-East Asia.
  • However, the QUAD did not include China to be a part of ‘The Asian Arc of Democracy. This led to severe critics, such as the former U.S. State Department, stating this was an Anti-Chinese move.
  • The Chinese anger over the Quadrilateral caused uneasiness among the Australians. In 2008, Kevin Rudd ( Former Prime Minister of Australia ) finally terminated the Quadrilateral, signaling closer relations with the Chinese Government.

2012: Democratic Security Diamond

  • The Japanese Government has vowed to revisit the pacifist constitution. Particularly the Prime Minister of Japan: Shinzo Abe.
  • He has also vowed to re-calibrate the security alliance of Japan with the United States of America along with steering the establishment of the ‘Democratic Security Diamond.’
  • It is a proposed strategic alliance of like-minded Indo-Pacific Countries. All these countries are insecure about the growing naval power of China.

2017: Entry of Australia again- China’s Response

  • Under the leadership of Kevin Rudd (Former Prime Minister of Australia), the Australian Government found the grouping to be in high conflict with the Australian Economic relationship with China.
  • Hence, they decided to withdraw from the formal discussion in 2008. However, the Australian Government decided to take a firm and assertive stance over the previous reluctance.

2020: Trilateral India- US, Japan, Malabar Naval Exercise

  • The Malabar Exercise started in 1992. However, this exercise was suspended from 1998 to 2001.
  • This was because the US Government imposed sanctions (military and economic) on India after India conducted the nuclear missile test. Finally, it was revived by the two countries in 2002.
  • Later, Japan became a permanent member of the Malabar Exercise in 2015. This exercise includes combat maneuvers and simulated war games.

QUAD Countries

All the QUAD Countries participate in semi-regular summits, discussions, intelligence exchanges, and military training exercises to preserve the QUAD Group.

China is not a member of QUAD.

Let’s discuss more in detail about the QUAD Countries:


  • To contain China’s growth in East Asia, the USA followed the policy of containment against it. Accordingly, the United States perceives the coalition as a means to regain its influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Both China and Russia have been described as strong rivals to the United States in their national security strategy Pentagon report on Indo-Pacific and National Defence strategy.


  • The Chinese government has shown an interest in the land Infrastructure polluted universities of Australia, which has become a matter of concern to it.
  • This is because it can be seen from the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Australia indicates Australia’s dependence on China for its economic prosperity.


  • China has been trans-dressing its territorial boundaries in the region for the past decade, and Japan has strongly expressed its disagreements.
  • Japan’s economy remains heavily dependent on trade with China, with net exports accounting for one-third of the country’s recent economic growth.
  • Therefore, Japan has to be taken care of to balance its economic needs with its territorial concern with China.


  • China’s violations of international norms and recent years, especially its expansion of military facilities on reclaimed islands in the South China Sea and expansion of military and economic power, have raised some strong challenges for India.
  • India knows the strategic importance of China. It is smartly balancing the relationship between China and the US, thereby remaining committed to the strategic autonomy of China, which is reassuring to it.
  • In fact, India has prohibited Australia from participating in the Malabar trilateral Maritime exercises that happen between India US, and Japan concerning that it might send a negative message to China, which is the wary reason for the exercise.
  • It is a positive development that Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping value the strategic guidance to the stakeholders in both countries at Mamallapuram Summit.

Spirit of QUAD

Spirit of QUAD is a joint statement issued by the member countries of QUAD in March 2021. In this statement, the members of QUAD mentioned that-

  • They strive for a free, open, inclusive, healthy region anchored by democratic values.
  • They support the rule of law and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific region. Comet to work together along with a good range of partners.
  • They pledged to combat climate change, faster the countries’ economies, and improve the health impacts of covid-19.
  • To advance the goals and priorities said by the member countries, they aim to 3 double their commitments towards squad engagement and combine the Nation’s scientific financing and manufacturing capabilities, establishing a vaccine expert for effective vaccine distribution.

QUAD Principles

The prime focus of establishing the QUAD group is to safeguard the sea routes in the Indo-Pacific Ocean from foreign invaders. QUAD is a strategic grouping to reduce Chinese domination. QUAD principles aim to secure a rules-based global order, freedom of navigation, and a liberal trading system. It also aims to offer alternative debt financing for nations in the Indo-Pacific region.

The QUAD focuses on reducing Chinese trade and predatory policies and aims at providing liberal trading and freedom of navigation.

Significance of QUAD

The QUAD strategically counters China’s economic and military rise. The significance of QUAD, especially for India, are:

  • India can take the support of the other QUAD nations in the event of rising Chinese hostilities on its borders.
  • India can use naval extensions in the Indo-Pacific region for strategic exploration.
  • China’s aggressiveness and coerciveness in the strategic Indo-Pacific region are frequently discussed among the QUAD countries.

QUAD Summit 2022

The QUAD Summit was held in Tokyo on 24th May 2022. Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the Summit in person. The issues addressed in the QUAD Summit 2022 were China and Taiwan, China and the Soloman Islands, Ukraine and Russia, and North Korea Missiles. The initiatives discussed were Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA), Space Cooperation, Vaccine Partnership, and QUAD Fellowship.

QUAD Summit 2023

The next in-person QUAD Summit 2023 will be hosted by Australia.

The QUAD needs to have a clearer vision for itself. QUAD must exhibit openness and ensure that all talk of a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ is more than just a mere slogan. The QUAD should focus on building a robust regional consultation mechanism and coordinate with ASEAN nations on issues of regional importance.

Challenges Before QUAD

There are certain challenges in the way of the QUAD group, which include:

  • China’s territorial claim on the complete ownership of the South China Sea region and the power to manufacture its islands. Though the claim was rejected outright by the arbitration court in 2016, China is still not stepping back.
  • China has close relations with the ASEAN countries. With the recent example of the Regional Cooperation Economic Partnership (RCEP), China’s increasing influence over ASEAN nations could not be ruled out.
  • Since the QUAD group restricts China and many terms like trading and navigation in the Indo-Pacific and western regions via sea routes, it is difficult for countries like Japan and Australia to sustain themselves because they depend on China.
  • The coherence among the countries participating in a quadruple group is missing because of the countries’ interests and aspirations being fulfilled.


QUAD is an important part of International Relations in the UPSC Syllabus. To cover this topic for the UPSC Exam, one needs to be fully aware of the recent developments in Current Affairs.

QUAD UPSC Questions

Question: Which of the following is included in the spirit of the QUAD statement by the QUAD Countries?

  1. A shared vision for an open Indo-Pacific region
  2. A vision for the East and South China Seas’ rule-based maritime order

Select the correct answer from the code below:

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. 1 and 2 are both correct.
  4. None of the above

Answer: Option C

Question: Which country withdrew from QUAD, taking it to cessation?

  1. Japan
  2. India
  3. USA
  4. Australia

Answer: Option D

Question: Which of the new alliances is being speculated to be the end of the QUAD partnership in 2021?

  1. AUKUS
  2. BRICS
  3. ASEAN
  4. None of the above

Answer: Option A

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