Senator Cornyn

Sen. Cornyn Expresses Support for The Quad, Australia’s Return to Exercise Malabar

October 20, 2020

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator and Senate India Caucus Chair John Cornyn (R-TX), along with a bipartisan group of senators, sent a letter to Ambassador of India to the United States Taranjit Singh Sandhu expressing support for India’s decision to invite Australia to participate in the annual Exercise Malabar.

The letter was led by U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) and signed by Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), 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 fellow Senate India Caucus Co-chair 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,”
 they continued. “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,”
 they concluded.

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