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Sharp divides

  • Published
    16th Mar, 2023

Context: 

  • The joint presence by the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, at the Naval Base Point Loma, U.S who came to reveal their “AUKUS” trilateral defence pact, is seen as significant for a New Indo-pacific and quest for global power rivalry.

Highlights of the pact:

  • Naval agreements: The U.S. and the U.K. navies will embed Australian personnel, and increase port visits to Australia to train together.
  • Building Cooperation and trust: In the second phase, U.S. and U.K. nuclear submarines will travel rotationally to Australia, and the U.S. will sell Australia up to five nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarines.
  • Focus on defence equipment: A new submarine called the SSN-AUKUS, will be built and used by all three navies, with interoperable workings.

AUKUS cooperation and objectives:

  • Against China, Russia and North Korea: U.K.’s Prime Minister has mentioned that the most recent challenges to the world have come from Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, China’s growing assertiveness and the destabilising behaviour of Iran and North Korea.
  • Expanding reach into Indian Ocean: The alliance is seen as a counter to China exerting its claims on Taiwan, with the idea that a naval fleet including nuclear-powered submarines based in Australia would be able to reach the South China Sea quickly.
  • Preparing for future challenges: While U.S. President insisted the submarines would be nuclear-powered, but not nuclear-armed, as, Russia and China are expected to raise concerns over any violation of the Non Proliferation Treaty regime.
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