This week, Florida Rep. Mike Waltz (R) directed a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. In the letter, Rep. Waltz calls on the Biden administration officials to examine negotiations between Mauritius and the United Kingdom over the return of control of the Chagos Archipelago. Waltz cites that the negotiations that are currently underway could have a negative impact on the Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia.
Waltz is a vocal critic of the Biden administration, slamming President Joe Biden (D) over his handling of the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In a statement, Waltz expressed his concerns, saying that “after the abandonment of Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, Diego Garcia remains our most critical basing option to counter the rising threat of the Chinese Communist Party in the Indian Ocean region and ceding control of the Chagos to Mauritius could deliver the CCP an enormous strategic win.” Waltz added that “China has already invested over $1 billion in Mauritus and finalized a free trade agreement with the island nation that could impact our military posture,” urging “our British allies to secure safeguards to prevent any potential threats to our basing capabilities.”
As outlined in the letter, Diego Garcia is located in “a critical geographic” location, serving “as a support facility for military aircraft and ships transiting from the Philippines to the Middle East.” Moreover, it “gives the U.S. military’s strategic bombers the capability to reach maritime chokepoints, sea lanes, and Chinese bases in the region.”
Waltz details how the United Kingdom should not cede control of the Chagos to Mauritius, warning “that China will take advantage of the resulting vacuum.” He posits that this will happen because “to date, China has invested over $1 billion in Mauritius and finalized a free trade agreement in January 2021.”
Referencing the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, Waltz called on the Biden officials to “not repeat the Biden Administration’s shortsighted blunder of ignoring our generals’ recommendations and abandoning Bagram Air Base during the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.”