A powerful Senate committee has overwhelmingly approved the key China strategic competition Bill which among other things supports the QUAD grouping and enhances security partnership with India.
Known as the “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, the Quad grouping comprises the US, India, Australia and Japan. The representatives for the four-member nations have met periodically since its establishment in 2007. The top leaders of the four countries held a historic virtual summit hosted by President Joe Biden last month.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, following a three hour debate and several amendments voted 21-1 to approve the Strategic Competition Act on Wednesday.
The United States should reaffirm its commitment to the Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership with India and further deepen bilateral defence consultations and collaboration with the country, says the bipartisan bill moved by Senators Jim Risch and Bob Menendez, ranking member and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
It urges the US government that in close consultation with India, identify areas where it can provide diplomatic and other support as appropriate for India's efforts to address economic and security challenges posed by China in the region.
The two lawmakers described the legislation as an unprecedented, bipartisan effort to mobilise all American strategic, economic, and diplomatic tools for an Indo-Pacific strategy that enables the US government to compete effectively with China and the challenges it poses to its national and economic security for decades to come.
One amendment moved by Senator Edward Markey, and approved seeks to establish a QUAD Intra-Parliamentary Working Group to connect together lawmakers from the United States, Japan, Australia and India. Markey is chair of the Asia-Pacific subcommittee.
“The Quad Inter-Parliamentary Group will help our four countries diversify cooperation on issues beyond its traditional defence focus such as by delivering alternatives to China's Belt and Road in the Indo-Pacific and delivering on the promise to provide over one billion COVID-19 vaccines to the region,” he said.
The bill bolsters the United States diplomatic strategy in addressing challenges posed by the Chinese government and reaffirms America's commitment to its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world, and calls for the United States to reassert its leadership within international organisations and other multilateral fora.
It renews America's commitment to allies and partners by prioritising security assistance for the Indo-Pacific region, and strengthens US diplomatic efforts to address challenges posed by China in the Western Hemisphere, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Arctic, and Oceania.
The Indo-Pacific is the most consequential region for American foreign policy. China is engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas. Beijing has also made substantial progress in militarising its man-made islands in the past few years.