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Kate Stevenson and David Envall, ‘The “Quad” and Disaster Management: An Australian Perspective’, in Yuki Tatsumi and Jason Li, eds, International Disaster Response: Rebuilding the Quad? Washington, DC: Stimson Center, pp. 13‒23.
Australian military disaster relief has matured from reluctant one-off deployments to an accepted piece of Australia’s strategic engagement in the Indo-Pacific. For regional cooperation, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) provides not only a practical setting for training and joint operations but also a form of international engagement acceptable regardless of political climate. The revival of quadrilateral security consultations bringing together the US, Japan, India, and Australia (referred to as the “Quad”) represent a potential avenue for HA/DR and related cooperation as an instrument for international diplomacy. For Australia, this form of engagement could give greater substance and a practical element to regional partnerships, tying together the concept of the Indo-Pacific and bringing India further into regional cooperation. However, existing HA/DR frameworks, the trend toward bilateral disaster relief, and the political tension generated by growing Chinese assertiveness will make it hard to convince sceptics that the Quad is viable as a means of strengthening diplomacy by HA/DR.