SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement after concluding a bipartisan congressional delegation he led to key U.S. ally and partner countries Australia and India for high-level engagements with defense and foreign policy officials about national security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
“The United States cannot meet our greatest security threats without a strong network of alliances and partnerships. After meeting face-to-face with officials from the Australian and Indian governments, I believe more strongly than ever that Washington must continue deepening our engagement and cooperation with Canberra and New Delhi as we confront the shared challenges posed by Beijing. I thank my colleagues Representatives Houlahan and Scott for joining the delegation, the officials we met for their candor and conversations, and staff across the U.S. government for supporting our visits.
“Partnerships like AUKUS and the Quad will help the democratic countries in the region offer a compelling alternative to Xi Jinping’s model of authoritarianism both at home and around the world. China’s deep relationship with Russia, a country whose leader Vladimir Putin has earned global scorn for his unlawful invasion of Ukraine, further demonstrates Beijing’s willingness to challenge international rules and norms designed to promote peace and prosperity for everyone. Countries around the world deserve a better choice than what Xi and Putin have to offer — and the United States, Australia, India, and our allies and partners can provide a safer, freer, more prosperous way.”
The delegation started in Sydney, Australia, where Reps. Smith, Houlahan, and Scott met with the U.S. Consul General and country team, representatives from the Royal Australian Navy, representatives from leading Australian national security think tanks, members of the business community, and Australian Senator David Fawcett, Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Trade. Members of the delegation also sat down in Adelaide with leaders from across the government of South Australia and toured Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Edinburgh, the Australian Space Agency and Defense Space Command, and local shipyards. In Canberra, Reps. Smith, Houlahan, and Scott met with senior Australian defense and foreign policy officials in a series of convenings.
The delegation then traveled to New Delhi, India, for meetings with the Foreign Secretary, representatives from leading Indian national security think tanks, and members of the business community. Then in Hyderabad, India, Reps. Smith, Houlahan, and Scott concluded the delegation with visits to local defense production facilities, a roundtable discussion with industry partners, and meetings with local government officials.