Quad: Its Origins, Goals and Future Plans


The leaders of four countries — India, the U.S., Australia, and Japan — are meeting for the second in-person summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad in Tokyo.


GS II- International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About QUAD
  2. What were the objectives of the grouping?
  3. Quad Initiatives
  4. What are the future plans of the Quad?

About QUAD

  • The Quad is an informal strategic forum comprising four nations, namely –India, United States of America, Australia and Japan.
  • One of the primary objectives of the Quad is, to work for a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
  • The group for the first time met in 2007 on the side lines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
  • It is considered an alliance of maritime democracies.
  • The forum is maintained through meetings, semi-regular summits, information exchanges, and military drills of all the member countries.
  • The motive behind the Quad is, to keep the strategic sea routes in the Indo-Pacific, free of any military or political influence.
  • The core objective of the Quad is, to secure a rules-based global order, freedom of navigation and, a liberal trading system.
  • The coalition also aims to offer, alternative debt financing for nations in the Indo-Pacific region.

Purpose of Quad:

  • Recently the U.S. has clarified that Quad is not a security or military partnership.
  • Its purpose is to advance cooperation on key priorities in specific sectors that is consistent with international law
  • It promotes shared values of its members and underpins peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • A U.S. State Department spokesperson said that “We work to support the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and territorial integrity through open dialogue and information sharing on a diverse set of issue areas, including Maritime Security”.

Significance of Quad:

Quad is becoming a powerful mechanism and its significance is given below:

  • Helping to vaccinate a big part of the world and getting a lot of vaccines out there,
  • Strengthening maritime security to push back against aggression and coercion in the Indo-Pacific region,
  • Working together on emerging technologies and making sure that they can be used in positive ways and an increasingly broad and deep agenda.
  • It also supports many activities/platforms as part of its shared approach to the Indo-Pacific.

What were the objectives of the grouping?

  • Coming together to foster a free and open Indo-Pacific formed the bedrock of cooperation.
  •  Emphasis was laid on “rule of law, territorial integrity, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, and democratic values” in the region.
  • The other areas of immediate focus were the pandemic through strengthening equitable vaccine access for the Indo-Pacific, combating climate change, sharing critical technologies, cyber security, supply chain resilience, and infrastructure and connectivity projects.
  • Now it commits to promoting the free, open, rules-based order, rooted in international law and undaunted by coercion, to bolster security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

Quad Initiatives:

  • Quad leaders launched the Quad Vaccine Initiative (QVI) with the aim of manufacturing and distributing at least a billion COVID-19 vaccines for the Asia region by the end of 2022.
  •  As for emerging technologies, the four countries aimed to work on the development and diversification of 5G telecommunications and the creation of supply chains for critical minerals and technologies for making semiconductors used in smartphones, another area where China is a leader.
  • Quad nations had also agreed to build joint connectivity projects and transparent infrastructure funding for countries in the region.
    • The emphasis on connectivity saw the Quad challenge China in another sphere: a coordinated effort to provide financing and sustainable alternatives to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has led many nations to take loans and accept infrastructure bids from Beijing.
  • The Quad also created a working group for combating climate change which would oversee efforts to foster green shipping by decarbonising maritime supply chains and promoting the use of clean hydrogen.

What are the future plans of the Quad?

  • The Leaders will review the progress of Quad initiatives and Working Groups, identify new areas of cooperation and provide strategic guidance and vision for future collaboration.
  • The Quad summit is expected to discuss the Russian war in Ukraine, and the impact of three months of Western sanctions.
  • US also unveiled the ‘Indo-Pacific Economic Framework’ (IPEF) which is a programme to bind countries in the region more closely through common standards.
  • Quad members also launched a maritime monitoring plan to curb illegal fishing in the Indo-Pacific.

Qutub Minar Not a Place of Worship


The Qutub Minar complex is not a place of worship and its character cannot be changed now, the Archaeological Survey of India submitted in a Delhi Court while opposing a plea challenging the dismissal of a civil suit seeking “restoration” of temples on the premises.


GS I- History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Why is it making headlines now?
  2. What really is the situation?
  3. About Qutub Minar

Why is it making headlines now?

  • The ASI now claims that when the Qutub Minar complex was first designated as a protected monument in 1914, it was not a place of worship.
  • According to the ASI, the nature of a monument is determined by the date it is placed under protection.

What really is the situation?

  • According to the initial lawsuit, 27 temples were demolished in order to construct the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque at the Qutub Minar complex.
  • The Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991 was used to dismiss this case last year.
  • The order has now been reserved by the Additional District Judge (ADJ).
  • The petitioner claimed that the first litigation was wrongfully dismissed under the 1991 Act.
  • The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act of 1958 applies to the Qutub Minar complex.

About Qutub Minar

  • It is a five-storeyed red sandstone tower (72.5 m high) built by Muslim conquerors in the thirteenth century to commemorate their final triumph over the Rajput rulers of Delhi (Qutub means victory), while also serving as a tower from where muezzins (criers) call for prayer at the Quwwatu’l-Islam mosque nearby.
  • A 7 m-high iron pillar stands in the courtyard of the mosque.
  • Its surrounding contains Alai-Darwaza Gate, the masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art (built in 1311).
  • The building process of Qutub Minar took about 75 years. Its construction was started by Qutub-ud-din Aibak (1206-1210) in 1193 and finished by Iltutmish (1211-1236).
  • In 1368, it was repaired by the rulers of the day, Muhammad-bin-Tughluq (1325-51) and Firuz Shah Tughluq (1351-88).
  • The minar (tower) is engraved with fine arabesque decorations on its surface, mainly verses from the Quran.
  • Qutub Minar and its monuments were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

Jagannath Temple Heritage Corridor Project


Recently, The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said that a sculpture of a lion, which possibly dates back to the Ganga dynasty, was found during excavation for the controversial heritage corridor project around the 12th century Jagannath Temple in Puri, Odisha.

  • This is the third such lion sculpture found during the excavation work. The Odisha government’s ambitious temple corridor project in Puri has become a subject of intense political controversy in the State.


GS I- Art and Architecture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the controversy?
  2. About Shree Jagannath temple
  3. Architecture of Jagannath temple

What is the controversy?

  • The Puri Heritage Corridor Project is a ₹3,200 crore redevelopment project of the the 800-year-old Jagannath temple in Puri by the Odisha government to create an international heritage site.
  • In February, when the Odisha Bridge and Construction Corporation (OBBC) started excavation work within 75 metres of the temple to build public amenities, experts objected to the use of heavy machinery for digging, citing the possibility of an adverse impact on the 12th century temple.
  • The ASI later observed that there was “every possibility that the OBCC during the excavation or soil removal might have destroyed the archaeological remains of the heritage site”.
  • Special Correspondent

About Shree Jagannath temple

  • The Shree Jagannath Temple of Puri is an important Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath, a form of Vishnu, in Puri in the state of Odisha on the eastern coast of India.
  • The present temple was rebuilt from the 10th century onwards, on the site of an earlier temple, and begun by King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva, first of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
  • The Puri temple is famous for its Annual Ratha yatra, or chariot festival, in which the three principal deities are pulled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars. These gave their name to the English term Juggernaut.
  • Unlike the stone and metal icons found in most Hindu temples, the image of Jagannath is made of wood and is ceremoniously replaced every twelve or nineteen years by an exact replica.

Architecture of Jagannath temple

  • The Temple of Jagannath at Puri is one of the major Hindu temples in India.
  • The temple is built in the Kalinga style of architecture, with the Pancharatha (Five chariots) type consisting of two anurathas, two konakas and one ratha. Jagannath temple is a pancharatha with well-developed pagas. ‘Gajasimhas’ (elephant lions) carved in recesses of the pagas, the ‘Jhampasimhas’ (Jumping lions) are also placed properly.
  • The perfect pancharatha temple developed into a Nagara-rekha temple.
  • The temple is built on an elevated platform, as compared to Lingaraja temple and other temples belonging to this type.
  • This is the first temple in the history of Kalingaan temple architecture where all the chambers like Jagamohana, Bhogamandapa and Natyamandapa were built along with the main temple.
  • There are miniature shrines on the three outer sides of the main temple.

Prithviraj Chauhan


There is controversy around a new Akshay Kumar film called ‘Prithviraj’, with both the Gujjar and Rajput communities of Rajasthan laying claim over the 12th century king.


GS I- History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Why in News?
  2. Prithviraj of legend
  3. History of Prithviraj
  4. How do medieval texts describe the reign of Prithviraj?
  5. Version of ‘Prithviraj Raso’

Why in News?

  • Recently, the Akhil Bhartiya Veer Gurjar Mahasabha claimed that Prithviraj Chauhan belonged to the Gujjar community, and demanded that the film depict him as such.
  • The Shri Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena, who rose to infamy in 2017 after their protests against the film ‘Padmavat’, countered that Prithviraj was a Rajput, and also announced they would oppose the film unless the word ‘Samrat’ was prefixed to his name in the title.

Prithviraj of legend

  • The image of Prithviraj as a fearless and skilled warrior that is now etched in the folk imagination can be traced back to his depiction in ‘Prithviraj Raso’, a poem in Brajbhasha attributed to Chand Bardai, which is thought to have been composed in the 16th century.
  • In the finale of the poem, after losing the Second Battle of Tarain (1192 AD) against Muhammad of Ghor, Prithviraj is captured and taken to Ghazni in modern-day Afghanistan, where is blinded and imprisoned.
  • Here, the Ghurid king challenges Prithviraj to demonstrate his proficiency in archery by piercing seven metal gongs with an arrow. But the blinded king instead aims the arrow at Muhammad, placing his location by using his voice, and kills him before dying himself.
  • Most other historical sources indicate that the victorious Muhammad executed Prithviraj at the end of the Second Battle of Tarain.

History of Prithviraj

  • Despite being such a celebrated figure, not much is known about the historical Prithviraj.
  • Prithviraj belonged to the Chauhan or Chahamana dynasty of Ajmer which emerged after the decline of the Pratihara empire in the 11th century AD.
  • He ascended the throne in 1177 or 1178, and very quickly expanded his kingdom, defeating many of the smaller Rajput states.
  • However, he struggled against the Chalukyas of Gujarat, and was forced to look towards the Ganga valley instead.
  • While Prithviraj’s army was able to decisively defeat the invading Ghurids in the First Battle of Tarain (present-day Haryana) in 1191, he was defeated in the Second Battle of Tarain in the following year.
  • The battle marked a watershed moment in the history of medieval India, paving the way for the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate and the beginning of Muslim rule.

The “Hindu Emperor”

  • James Mill’s ‘The History of British India’ (1817) categorized Indian history into the Hindu, Muhammadan and British periods, using the religious affiliation of the dominant political power to define each period.
    • In this formulation, Prithviraj Chauhan would be the last ruler of ‘Hindu’ India.
  • The description of Prithviraj as “the last Hindu emperor” can be traced to the British colonial official James Tod’s ‘Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan’ (1829).
  • However, the historical Prithviraj had several equally powerful Hindu contemporaries, and many Hindu kings continued to rule in southern India well after his time.

How do medieval texts describe the reign of Prithviraj?

  • The ‘Prithviraja Vijaya’ (1191/1192), the earliest Sanskrit ‘mahakavya’, and the Persian ‘Taj al- Ma’asir’ (1217) see Prithviraj Chauhan and Muhammad of Ghor as rivals who could never come to terms with one another.
  • The ‘Prithviraja Vijaya’ describes the Ghurid king as a wicked eater of cows, and his ambassador as an extremely ugly character.
  • The Muslims are labelled “turuska” (Turk) and “Yavana” (westerner), but also “raksasa” (ogre) and “asura” (demon).

Version of ‘Prithviraj Raso’

  • The ‘Prithviraj Raso’, which was probably composed at a time when Muslim rule was well entrenched in North India, does not use dehumanising expressions for Prithviraj’s rivals.
  • Talbot argues that the poem does not depict a simple Hindu-Muslim opposition.
  • Muhammad Ghori is in fact joined by two other Hindu kings in his battle against Prithviraj Chauhan.
  • Also, instead of the conflicts with the Ghurid armies, Prithviraj Chauhan’s war with Jaychand of Kannauj is the central episode of the text.
  • It is not only the longest, but also the most pivotal moment, as he loses many of his soldiers in this battle.

Xinjiang Leak Puts Uighurs in Spotlight


A leak of thousands of photos and official documents from China’s Xinjiang has shed new light on the atrocious methods used to enforce mass internment in the region.


GS-II: International Relations (India’s Neighbors, Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the leak about?
  2. Who are Uyghurs?
  3. About China’s Treatment of Uyghurs

What is the leak about?

  • After originally denying their existence, Beijing now claims the facilities are voluntarily attended vocational training courses geared at combating religious extremism.
  • However, the released records provide insight into how officials viewed minorities as a security concern.
  • Photos appear to show officers restraining hooded and shackled inmates with batons, while other guards wearing camouflage stand by with firearms.

Who are Uyghurs?

  • Uyghurs are predominately Turkic-speaking Sunni Muslims who live primarily in the autonomous region of Xinjiang. Islam came to the region in the 10th century. Prior to Islam, the Uyghurs embraced Buddhism, Shamanism, and Manicheism.
  • Uyghurs embraced Islam in 934 during the Karahanid Kingdom. Kashgar, the capital of the Kingdom, quickly became one of the major learning centers of Islam.
  • Art, the sciences, music and literature flourished as Islamic religious institutions nurtured the pursuit of an advanced culture. In this period, hundreds of world-renowned Uyghur scholars emerged.
  • Uyghurs played an important role in cultural exchanges between the East and West and developed a unique culture and civilization of their own based on Islam.

About China’s Treatment of Uyghurs

  • The Hui Muslim 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army) governed the southern region of East Turkestan (named Xinjiang by the Chinese government) in 1934–1937. The administration that was set up was colonial in nature, importing Han cooks and baths, changing the Uyghur language-only street names and signs to Chinese, as well as switching carpet patterns in state-owned carpet factories from Uyghur to Han.
  • Strict surveillance and mass detentions of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang re-education camps is a part of the ongoing sinicization policy by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Since 2015, it has been estimated that over a million Uyghurs have been detained in these camps. The camps were established under CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping’s administration with the main goal of ensuring adherence to national ideology.
  • Critics of China’s treatment of Uyghurs have accused the Chinese government of propagating a policy of sinicization in Xinjiang in the 21st century, calling this policy a cultural genocide, or ethnocide, of Uyghurs.


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