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Bipartisan Senators Express Strong Support For The Quad & Australia’s Return To Exercise Malabar

'The addition of such a uniquely capable and stalwart partner to this naval exercise is invaluable'

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) led a bipartisan group of senators in expressing strong support of India's decision to formally invite Australia to participate in the annual Exercise Malabar.

The letter, addressed to Ambassador of India to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu, was signed by Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.).

"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.

"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."

"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.

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.

Read the full letter here.