WASHINGTON – This morning, a congressional delegation (CODEL) led by U.S. Senator and India Caucus Co-Chair John Cornyn (R-TX) touched down back in the U.S after visiting key allies and partners in southeast Asia. The delegation, which included Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Representatives Tony Gonzales (TX-23) and Jake Ellzey (TX-6), supported Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM)’s mission to continue to build security cooperation in the region and strengthen bilateral ties with key allies following COVID-19.
“The Indo-Pacific is the largest military theater in the world, and our allies there are invaluable to ensuring we can counter China’s overreach,” said Sen. Cornyn. “Our delegation was able to see firsthand the issues facing countries from mainland India to island partners in the Pacific, and I am grateful to our host nations and our servicemembers stationed there.”
The delegation began their travels by meeting with the newly installed USINDOPACOM Commander, Admiral John Aquilino, who oversees the oldest and largest combatant command. After giving the group a broad situational overview, Admiral Aquilino conveyed his priorities for all branches of the military in the region, which spans from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to the western border of India.
The delegation on the USS John Paul Jones with Commanding Officer Robert Watts.
In the Philippines, the delegation met with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin, Jr. and received an update on efforts to counter China’s influence in the region. Later, the members saw firsthand Chinese maritime military activity in the disputed South China Sea.
The delegation, Chargé d’Affaires Heather Variava, and the aircrew of a Philippines-based U.S. Navy P-8 before an overflight of the South China Sea.
To learn how the U.S. can best support Taiwan’s development of domestic asymmetric defense capabilities and discuss trade relations, the delegation met with President Tsai Ing-wen, along with defense and foreign affairs leadership in Taipei.
The delegation meets with President Tsai and members of Taiwan’s Ministries of Foreign Affairs and National Defense.
After landing in India, the group met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and cabinet officials in New Delhi. They discussed support for Quad countries, important trade priorities, and priorities for the Senate India Caucus, which was co-founded by Sen. Cornyn. This visit marked the delegation’s travel from one end of the USINDOPACOM Theater to the other.
Members of the delegation discussed issues important to the U.S. and India with Prime Minister Modi.
The delegation meets with Chargé D’Affaires Patricia Lacina at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi.
Lastly, the delegation had an audience with the representative of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who spoke with the group about shared values for religious freedom and human rights, and China’s repression and persecution of Tibetans.
The delegation talks with the representative of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
The delegation thanks the U.S. military overseas in USINDOPACOM, the staff of U.S. embassies in the region, and the leaders and dignitaries of their host countries and partners for their hospitality and service.