This paper examines how the Quad countries, Australia, India, Japan, and the United States, have countervailed China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Indo-Pacific through various institutional efforts both individually and collectively. It argues that the existing approach of offering an alternative to China’s BRI will hardly be successful. Although the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has weakened China’s financial and economic capacities in sustaining and expanding its BRI projects, it is unlikely that China will give up the BRI under Xi Jinping’s leadership. This, however, creates an opportunity for the Quad countries to weigh in on the future BRI in the post-COVID era. These Quad countries could consider employing an ‘inclusive institutional balancing’ strategy to constrain, change, and shape China’s BRI behaviour from the inside. Inclusive institutional balancing will be also a viable strategy for recipient countries to maximize their economic interests in the balance-of-infrastructure game among great powers in the Indo-Pacific in the post-COVID era.
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