The following article appeared in Order from Chaos, the blog of the Brookings Institution. An excerpt is below and the full text can be accessed here.
[T]he rationale for a similar arrangement today is even greater and the political circumstances are also more favorable. Having returned to power, Abe has radically reformed Japan’s national security structures. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been diplomatically active and has prioritized a closer partnership in the Indo-Pacific with the United States and Abe’s Japan. For many years, questions remained about Australia’s commitment and inclination, colored by Rudd’s unilateral decision to withdraw from the Quad. But while the Australian economy remains heavily reliant on resource exports to China, Canberra is not under any illusions about its strategic orientation. In fact, developments in the South China Sea and Indian Ocean seem to have hardened the resolve of Australia’s security establishment. There is also a case for including more countries into an emerging soft security architecture for the region, including possibly Indonesia and the Philippines.