US senators write to Indian envoy welcoming Australian participation at Malabar exercises; bat for quad

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
NEW DELHI Published: Oct 21, 2020, 06.02 PM(IST)

Malabar exercise Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The Malabar annual naval exercise started as a bilateral India-US exercises in 1992, later Japan joined in 2015. Australia had participated in the exercises in 2007.

A group of fourteen US Senators have written to Indian envoy to United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu welcoming India's decision to invite Australia for the Malabar exercises in the month of November, and batted for Quad grouping even as Chinese aggressiveness in the region and other part of the world increase. Malabar exercises and quad have four member countries--US, Australia, Japan and India.

The senators in the joint letter said, "We write in strong support of India’s decision to formally invite Australia to participate in the annual Exercise Malabar".

Adding, “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."

The Malabar annual naval exercise started as a bilateral India-US exercises in 1992, later Japan joined in 2015. Australia had participated in the exercises in 2007.

The US senators who wrote the letter are David A. Perdue, Christopher A Coons, John Cornyn, Mark R. Warner, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, James Lankford, Thom Tillis, Dan Sullivan, Marsha Blackburn, Kevin Cramer, Martha McSally, Josh Hawley, Kelly Loeffler. 

On Quad grouping, the letter said, it "represents a security forum for like-minded democracies to preserve and promote the rules-based order in the region through shared commitments and close collaboration."

Explaining the increase relevance of the grouping, the letter explained, "In the face of China’s rising military and economic assertiveness, strengthening of the Quad has become increasingly important" and as the "world addresses the fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, China has opportunistically looked to expand its military footprint across the IndoPacific. 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."

Earlier this month foreign minister of Quad grouping met for the 2 time, even as Washington has been calling for formalisation of it. Beijing sees the grouping as anti-China, and has been calling it Asian Nato, something that has been dismissed by member countries. 

Quad came together in the after math of the 2004 tsunami, one of the worst natural disasters and amid the Covid pandemic quad along with other countries like New Zealand, South Korea and Vietnam have been engaging to coordinate efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

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