U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND), a Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) member, joined a bipartisan letter led by Senator David Perdue (R-GA) to Ambassador of India to the United States expressing support for India’s decision to invite Australia to participate in the Exercise Malabar, an annual naval exercise scheduled for the end of November. The decision formally brings together the militaries of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia, an informal strategic forum often referred to as the “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or the “Quad.”
“From an operational perspective, the addition of such a uniquely capable and stalwart partner, like Australia, to this naval exercise is invaluable, providing increased interoperability, strengthening threat assessment abilities and enhancing the maritime roles and missions of the four naval powers,” wrote the senators. “However, of equal importance is the symbolic nature of Australia’s inclusion in Malabar, marking the first time that the United States, India, Japan and Australia will engage collectively at the military level since the formation of the Quad and the Quad-plus-Singapore naval exercises held in September 2007.”
The letter contrasts this announcement with China’s efforts to expand its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
“China has opportunistically looked to expand its military footprint across the Indo-Pacific. From the South China Sea to the Himalayas, Beijing continues to use methods of intimidation and territorial aggression to test the resolve of regional actors,” continued the senators. “In response to these malign actions, the U.S. has signaled its increased commitment to the region with the newly proposed Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which will complement the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA) to provide a more robust military presence. However, without coordinated efforts among committed and capable partners, solitary actions will not sufficiently address these ever-evolving security challenges.”
The letter also expresses support for increased coordination among Quad members on non-security issues like humanitarian assistance, vaccine development, and infrastructure investment in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Almost three decades ago, the Malabar Exercise acted as a launching pad for increased U.S.-Indian relations. We hope that Japan’s inclusion in the exercise, and now Australia’s, will have a similar effect, strengthening cooperation among the Quad as we collectively defend our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific,” concluded the senators.
Senators Cramer and Perdue are joined on the letter by U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), James Lankford (R-OK), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Mark Warner (D-VA).
Click here to read the letter.