Security Studies Program Seminars

SPF NUS-ISAS Joint Webinar Part 2
Institutionalising the Quad: Can it Seize the Momentum for the Future?

Organized by Sasakawa Peace Foundation and National University of Singapore, Institute of South Asian Studies (NUS-ISAS)
Notwithstanding then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s passionate appeal for a coalition of democratic countries in the Indo-Pacific during his speech in the Indian Parliament in 2007, the Quadrilateral Security Initiative (the Quad) remained marginal to Asia’s evolving geopolitics. Tokyo has laboured with the rest of the Quad members, especially India and Australia, to forge a more robust network of security partnerships in the region as a possible hedge against China’s meteoric rise. Individual Quad members had developed extensive military and diplomatic relations both bilaterally and in tri-lateral forums. Yet, it took almost a decade for them to embrace the concept openly. 

China’s growing assertiveness, however, helped renew the momentum for this coalition. Since 2017, the process of the Quad’s resuscitation has witnessed great strides. For example, the Quad’s foreign ministers talk has now become an annual event. The invitation to Australia to the 2020 Malabar series of exercises appears to signal the crossing of a critical threshold in the coalition’s security policy. 

The Quad members are also engaging with like-minded countries in the region and beyond, slowly building a shared understanding on the need of a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific with partners across the globe. Beyond politico-military alignment, cooperating in connectivity and development projects, as well as supply chain initiatives, is now seen to be carrying more weight, upholding the region’s resilience to shocks and providing alternatives to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The Quad’s expanding functional agenda, along with its increased frequency of diplomatic and military contacts, has rendered this strategic forum central to Indo-Pacific’s future balance of power. 

However, the future of the Quad is still far from certain. Is the recent momentum a mere transitory phenomenon or an indication for departure from a hitherto loose coalition of the willing? Forming an alternative regional security architecture may inevitably complicate each member’s relationship with Beijing and necessitate a more hesitant ASEAN. The future of the Quad will ultimately depend on institutionalisation and expansion among like-minded states. This leads to another crucial question: How willing are the Quad members in coordinating their security policies and agreeing on explicit military and diplomatic commitments? This panel discussion by ISAS and SPF will reflect on these and other relevant questions, and will discuss future trajectories of the Quad in Asia’s ever-changing geopolitics.
International Peace and Security Group
Register Closed


15:00 Panelist talk
15:45 Discussion Session
16:30 End of Session

Speaker & Commentator

Mr. Brigien Suhaendra

Dr Kei Koga

AssisProfessor, Public Policy and Global Affairs Programme, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


Dr Kei Koga is Assistant Professor at the Public Policy and Global Affairs Programme, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University (NTU). His research focuses on International Relations theory, International Security, International Institutions, and East Asian security, including the transformation of the United States’ (US) bilateral security networks and ASEAN-led institutions in the Indo-Pacific region. He was visiting fellow at Center for Strategic and International Studies in 2017; a Japan-US Partnership Fellow at the Research Institute for Peace and Security, Tokyo, from 2012 to 2014; Postdoctoral Fellow in the International Studies Program, The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, from 2012 to 2013; a Vasey Fellow at the Pacific Forum CSIS in from 2009 to 2010; and RSIS-MacArthur visiting associate fellow at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), NTU, in 2010.

He has published on topics that include East Asian security, the US and Japanese foreign policies, the US-Japan alliance and ASEAN. His recent publication includes a book, Reinventing Regional Security Institutions in Asia and Africa (Routledge 2017); Japan’s “Free and Open Indo-Pacific” Strategy: Tokyo’s Tactical Hedging and the Implications for ASEAN (Contemporary Southeast Asia, 2019); The Concept of “Hedging” Revisited: The Case of Japan’s Foreign Policy Strategy in East Asia’s Power Shift (International Studies Review, 2018); and ASEAN’s Evolving Institutional Strategy: Managing Great Power Politics in South China Sea Disputes (Chinese Journal of International Politics, 2018). His current book project is Managing Great Power Politics: ASEAN, Institutional Strategy, and South China Sea. He received his PhD in International Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

Mr. Brigien Suhaendra

Dr Lavina Lee

Senior Lecturer, Department of Modern History Politics and International Relations, Macquarie University, Australia


Dr Lavina Lee is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University, Sydney. She is the author of the book, US Hegemony and International Legitimacy: Norms Power and Followership in the Wars on Iraq (Routledge, 2010), and has published numerous articles, book chapters and commentary on Indian foreign and security policy, nuclear proliferation, United States foreign policy, and security relations in the Indo-Pacific. Her current research focuses on maritime security and strategy in the Indo-Pacific region, and nuclear proliferation in East Asia. She also periodically publishes opinion pieces in The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, The Hindustan Times and the New Straits Times, as well as with specialist policy outlets such as The Lowy Interpreter and ASPI Strategist.

Dr Lee has commerce and law degrees from the University of NSW, an MA in International Peace and Security from King’s College, University of London, and a PhD in International Relations from Sydney University. Prior to joining Macquarie University, Dr Lee was a political risk consultant with Control Risks Group.

In June 2020, Dr Lee was appointed by the Australian Minister of Defence to the position of Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Council, Canberra. This is a three-year appointment.

Mr. Brigien Suhaendra

Dr Jagannath Panda

AssisProfessor, Public Policy and Global Affairs Programme, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


Dr Jagannath Panda is a Research Fellow and Coordinator of the East Asia Centre at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MD-IDSA), New Delhi. He joined MD-IDSA in 2006. Dr Panda is in charge of the East Asia Centre’s academic and administrative activities, including Track-II and Track 1.5 dialogues with Chinese, Japanese and Korean think-tanks/institutes. He is a recipient of the V K Krishna Menon Memorial Gold Medal (2000) from the Indian Society of International Law & Diplomacy in New Delhi.

Dr Panda is the author of India-China Relations: Politics of Resources, Identity and Authority in a Multipolar World Order (Routledge: 2017); and China’s Path to Power: Party, Military and the Politics of State Transition (Pentagon Press: 2010). Dr Panda has edited two volumes, China’s Transition under Xi Jinping (Pentagon Press: 2016); and India-Taiwan Relations in Asia and Beyond: The Future (Pentagon Press: 2016), and have co-edited two volumes, Towards a New Asian Order (Pentagon Press: 2012); and Revisiting Contemporary South Asia: Politics, Economics and Security (Pentagon Press: 2012). Dr Panda is a Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Asian Public Policy (Routledge). He is a non-Resident Fellow (honorary) at the Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP), Sweden, and also affiliated (honorary) to the Institute of Transnational Studies, Germany/Italy.

He obtained his doctorate (PhD) from the Centre for East Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University in 2007. He received a Master in Philosophy (MPhil) from the Department of Chinese & Japanese Studies (now East Asian studies) and studied his Master of Arts at the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi.

Mr. Brigien Suhaendra

Mr Ippeita Nishida

Senior Research Fellow, The Sasakawa Peace Foundation, Japan


Mr Ippeita Nishida is a Senior Research Fellow of the International Peace and Security Department at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation (SPF). In this position, he conducts research on Japan’s foreign engagement policies and tools, in particular, foreign aid and security cooperation (defense diplomacy). Additionally, he manages and oversees the mutual visitation exchange program for senior field officers between the Japan Self-Defense Forces and the Vietnamese People’s Army, a flagship initiative of SPF on defense cooperation. Currently, he serves as an expert panel member of the Development Assistance Accountability Committee at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and he teaches at the Hosei University and the Aoyama Gakuin University as an adjunct lecturer.

Prior to joining SPF in October 2016, he held the position of research fellow at the Tokyo Foundation where he worked on several key policy research projects and published reports such as The Quad Plus: Towards a Shared Strategic Vision for the Indo-Pacific (co-editor, Wisdom Tree Publisher, 2015); Rethinking Japan’s Foreign Aid: Widening the Scope of Assistance from a Security Perspective (co-author and editor, the Tokyo Foundation, 2014); and Maritime Security and the Right of Self-Defense in Peacetime (co-author and editor, the Tokyo Foundation, 2013).

Mr Nishida earned his MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Latest Events