ANY attempt to turn the existing trilateral security arrangement between Australia, Japan and the US into a quadrilateral alliance by including India would be a serious foreign policy miscalculation and should be resisted.

Reputedly an initiative of US Vice-President Dick Cheney, the idea reflects the neo-conservative belief that China will inevitably become a serious threat to US strategic primacy in Asia. Cheney apparently considers the best way of hedging against China’s rising power is to bring together a coalition of states united by a common desire to limit China’s influence.

Constraining China is hardly a new idea or propagated only by neo-cons. But Cheney has gone much further down this road by promoting the virtues of an alliance of like-minded, democratic nations that would include India, Asia’s other rising power.

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