The Coming of Quad and the Balance of Power in the Indo-Pacific

Soumyodeep DEB, Nathan WILSON

Research output: Journal PublicationsComment / Debate Communicationpeer-review


With the coming of the twenty-first century, power parity has started to shift from the Atlantic to the East, leading to conceptualization of the Indo-Pacific. The Indo-Pacific is the confluence of two major oceans: the Indian and the Pacific. The geographical area covering the region is of great significance from geoeconomical and geostrategic perspectives. The region is home to some of the major rising powers, including China, India, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It is also a region that is in the center of geopolitical rivalry, making it the hotspot for the emerging great-power competition.

The coining of term Indo-Pacific runs parallel with the rise of China, which, along with Beijing’s growing assertive foreign policy, is taken to be the driving force fueling the great-power competition in the region. Beijing, under its flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), wants to exert China’s influence in the wider IndoPacific region. This is seen as overturning the balance of power, having implications for the other major powers in the region. This led the United States to produce its Indo-Pacific strategy, which many view as a containment strategy to restrict the
rise of China and aimed at bringing the other like-minded powers under a singular strategic framework as a balance against growing Chinese influence.

It is in this context that understanding the theoretical framework of balance of power becomes of paramount importance. The idea of the Indo-Pacific and the revival of the Quad is taken to be a balancing act to thwart the growing Chinese footprint in the region. Therefore, this article will first address the theoretical framework of balance of power, giving readers an overview about why nations balance. It will also look at how the overall idea of the Indo-Pacific and balance of power are working. The second part of the article will analyze the revival of the
Quad in the geopolitical framework of twenty-first century from the perspective of balancing. It will also investigate the future of the Quad and whether it will lead to a deeper alliance of like-minded nations in the Indo-Pacific.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-122
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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