Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, visited Singapore on an overseas trip June 1-5, 2023, where he met with senior military and government leaders and participated in the Shangri-La Dialogue.
Hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the annual Shangri-La Dialogue is a defense summit focused on the Asia-Pacific region where ministers and representatives gather to discuss pressing security challenges and engage in bilateral talks.
While in Singapore, Aquilino presented Lt. Gen. Melvyn Ong, former Chief of Defence Force, Singapore Armed Forces, with the Legion of Merit. Ong received the award for exceptionally meritorious service, where his superior effort, outstanding leadership and personal initiative bolstered and supported mutually beneficial areas of cooperation between the U.S. and Singapore armed forces, including the creation of Singapore’s Digital and Intelligence Service, and the multilateral counterterrorism information facility.
At the Shangri-La Dialogue, he spoke with nearly 30 members of the Southeast Asian Young Leaders Programme, providing an opportunity for them to participate in high-level discussions, and evaluate complex and evolving regional security challenges within the region. The participants included young leaders from government, academia, media and think-tanks, who travelled from more than 20 countries, to include Australia, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
Aquilino also participated in the Shangri-La panel “Defence Cooperation in the Indian Ocean,” alongside France’s Chief of Staff for the Navy, Admiral Pierre Vandier, India’s Deputy National Security Advisor Vikram Misri, Oman’s Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr bin Hamad bin Hamoud Al Busaidi, Sri Lanka’s Chief of Staff to the President and National Security Advisor, Sagala Ratnayaka.
Aquilino underscored the outsized impact of the Indo-Pacific region on global markets and population centers, and that interconnected prosperity for all is enabled by safeguarding sovereignty and adherence to the rules-based international order.