Book review: Bhubhindar Singh and Sarah Teo (Eds.), Minilateralism in the Indo-Pacific: The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, Lancang Mekong Cooperation Mechanism, and ASEAN

AuthorSayantan Haldar
Published date01 April 2023
Date01 April 2023
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 125
well as those who worry about a possible nuclear war, advertent or inadvertent.
More importantly, it unravels substantial information on all three countries and
challenges some of the myths on their policy shifts prevalent in the literature. The
book is timely as we enter the second nuclear age with unpredictable future
Clary, C., & Narang, V. (2019). India’s counterforce temptations: Strategic dilemmas,
doctrine and capabilities. International Security, 43(3), 7–52.
T. V. Paul
James McGill Professor of International Relations,
McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Bhubhindar Singh and Sarah Teo (Eds.), Minilateralism in the
Indo-Pacif‌ic: The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, Lancang Mekong
Cooperation Mechanism, and ASEAN. Abingdon: Routledge, 2020,
134 pp., £35.99 (paperback). ISBN: 978-0-367-43037-5.
DOI: 10.1177/23477970231152033
In light of the growing strategic significance of the Indo-Pacific, Bhubhindar
Singh and Sarah Teo’s co-edited book provides a fresh insight into a relatively
less-discussed phenomenon—minilateralism, in the emerging security architecture
in the region. Singh and Teo situate the context of their book in the increasingly
proliferating minilateral arrangements of security emerging in the Indo-Pacific,
which the authors argue is a result of the ‘rising doubts over the sustainability of
the US leadership and its alliance network’ and ‘the inadequacies of the extant
multilateral arrangements in resolving strategic regional challenges’ (p. 2).
It helps that the authors define minilateralism, especially in the Indo-Pacific, in
the introductory chapter, which serves as the conceptual framework for the volume.
Singh and Teo argue that even though minilateralism has been largely concept-
ualised as a sub-set of multilateralism, fundamentally they differ in both quantitative
and qualitative aspects (p. 4). Although numerically minilateralism involves a
smaller group of participants, in relation to multilateralism, qualitatively minilater-
alism aims to bring together the smallest number of players on board towards
solving a particular problem, also defined as relatively exclusive, whereas multilat-
eralism is based on more indivisibility and generalised, organised principles (p. 4).
One of the key contributions of this section is made through efforts to establish
how minilateralism and multilateralism are distinct (see pp. 4–6).
The chapters are divided into three thematic parts. The first three chapters
look at US-centric minilateral arrangements in the Indo-Pacific, including the
Quadrilateral Security Dialogues (QUAD). The fourth and fifth chapters focus on
the Mekong sub-region, especially the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC),

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