The military forces of the four partner countries in the grouping known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, resumed joint military exercises in the waters of the Arabian Sea on Tuesday Nov. 17, in a clear demonstration of the growing regional power they are developing to confront the influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the Indo-Pacific area.

The navies of India, the United States, Australia, and Japan conducted military activities on Tuesday in the northern Arabian Sea in the second phase of a naval exercise seen as part of a regional initiative to counter CCP abuses in the area. 

This is the second time the Quad has participated in a combined military exercise of this size. The first phase of the drill, called Malabar, took place from Nov. 3-6 in the Bay of Bengal, the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean.

The second phase exercises “consist of operations centered on the Indian navy’s Vikramaditya carrier battle group and the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz carrier strike group,” according to a statement from the Indian Defense Ministry, reported by Breitbart.

The Indian communiqué continued, “Advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises, seamanship evolutions and weapon firings will also be undertaken to further enhance interoperability and synergy between the four friendly navies.”

In addition, the Australian frigate Ballarat, the Japanese destroyer Murasame, and an unspecified number of aircraft and submarines participated in the exercises. 

Although the military relationship between the four countries has been going on for several years, during the last few months several actions have been developed to promote and deepen ties with the common goal of offsetting the power grab of the CCP in the region and the advances of its army throughout the territory. 

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper warned that the CCP aims to be the dominant military power in Asia by 2049, the centennial of its communist revolution, in a speech given in Hawaii on Aug. 27, according to the Washington Examiner.

During his speech, Esper called on U.S. allies in the region to invest more in defense and rely less on the resources offered by the CCP.  

A few weeks after Esper’s words, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Japan where he publicly and harshly criticized the CCP in a meeting with officials from Australia, India, and Japan. According to TheBL, the meeting was aimed at strengthening the relations of a united and organized front against the CCP.

On that occasion, Pompeo requested the maximum collaboration of his allies against the growing regional influence imposed by the CCP.

Parallel to the military activities carried out by the Quad, a new bilateral military pact between Japan and Australia signed on Tuesday, fueled the tension between both countries and the CCP, who did not hesitate to respond about their disagreement on the matter and also warned about the danger of having signed that pact, taking into account that “it is inevitable that China will take some kind of countermeasures.”

The Global Times, official spokesman for the CCP was the one who alerted the international community when it published expressly on Tuesday that the U.S. allies are “forcing” the CCP to deepen its military relations with the allied countries, threatening possible reactions. 

The CCP was decisive in warning Australia and Japan that they “will surely pay the corresponding price if China’s national interests are violated and its security is threatened.” It also added, “China is unlikely to remain indifferent to U.S. measures aimed at inciting countries to unite against China in the long term.”

The Quad’s other partner, India, has also increased tension in its relationship with the CCP, after being involved in a critical border clash with People’s Liberation Army on the Western Himalayan border since mid-June. Since then, New Delhi has cut important trade links with Beijing.