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This week will see the third round of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, comprising India, Japan, the US and Australia. After being moribund for a decade, the Quad was revived last November, ostensibly as a hedge against the spread of China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Quad’s previous iteration died a quiet death when then Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd backed out due to concerns that it would antagonize China. This time around, it is New Delhi, which has deferred to Beijing’s sensibilities. In April, it was alone in rejecting Australia’s request to participate in the Malabar military exercises with the other Quad members. That rejection came the day after an informal summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Wuhan.

This wasn’t the only instance of New Delhi’s caution. Modi steered clear of mentioning the Quad or China’s actions in the South China Sea at Shangri-La Dialogue in June.

All of which is to say: the Quad has potential, but first, India must develop a strategic vision when it comes to China.

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