- New partnership will include deepened cooperation between the U.S., U.K. and Australia across emerging security areas such as cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technology and undersea capabilities.
- President Biden has made addressing competition and aggression from China a central focus of his foreign policy. For this they have sacrificed other policy goals and regions.
- India is fighting terror, authoritarian regime in the neighbourhood, and has to up its cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technology and undersea capabilities.
- India is fighting to stop forced debt traps, forced droughts, fighting terror and standing with the world for justice. If India is not in AUKUS then who?
In a surprise announcement this Week American President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a new trilateral security partnership focused on the Indo-Pacific. As part of the new partnership, named AUKUS for its members, the three countries are launching an 18-month review to explore how Australia can best acquire nuclear-powered submarines technology that is quieter, faster and has more endurance than conventional submarines. In the Defence History of America only once the U.S. has shared nuclear propulsion capability with only one other nation the U.K. as part of an agreement in 1958.
The announcement also comes as the Biden administration is looking to bolster its alliances after four years of former President Trump’s “America first” foreign policy and the more recent chaotic U.S. exit from Afghanistan under Biden. AUKUS leaders detailed the new partnership while Biden spoke from the White House East Room, while the other leaders’ remarks were carried virtually. “This is about investing in our greatest source of strength, our alliances and updating them to better meet the threats of today and tomorrow. This initiative is about making sure that each of us has a modern capability, the most modern capabilities we need to maneuver and defend against rapidly evolving threats. Our sailors, our scientists and our industries to maintain and expand our edge in military capabilities and critical technology.”
Officials said that the new partnership will include deepened cooperation between the U.S., U.K. and Australia across emerging security areas such as cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technology and undersea capabilities. The three nations will work to improve information and technology sharing. Australia PM Morrison said Australia would build the submarines in Adelaide “in close cooperation with the United Kingdom and the United States.”
President Biden has made addressing competition and aggression from China a central focus of his foreign policy. For this they have sacrificed other policy goals and regions. South Asia, Middle East, Africa is gone and East Asia with China is on top. Tensions are seen between the US and China on various fronts, including the coronavirus pandemic, human rights, supply chain and economic issues to name a few.
Chinese embassy spokesman Liu Pengyu reacted to news of the pact saying countries should not build exclusionary blocs targeting or harming the interests of third parties. In particular, they should shake off their Cold-War mentality and ideological prejudice. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the partnership is “severely damaging regional peace and stability, intensifying an arms race, and damaging international nuclear nonproliferation efforts. China will closely watch the situation’s development.”
However all is not well with this US decision to form AUKUS as French officials are furious over the Biden administration’s decision to scrap a $40 billion nuclear submarine deal that the European nation had signed with Australia. France has lashed out at President Biden over a perceived hidden deal that sidelined Paris. It has angrily scrapped the “240th Anniversary of the Battle of the Capes” event meant to take place Friday evening at the French Embassy and aboard a French frigate in Baltimore. The event was meant to celebrate the French navy’s aid to America’s fight for independence in 1781. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian went further and said the alliance was “a stab in the back. This is a brutal, unilateral and unpredictable decision. I am angry and bitter. This isn’t done between allies”, said Le Drian.
President Biden has also looked at other partnerships to demonstrate U.S. commitment to allies in the Indo-Pacific. Biden will host the first leader meeting of the Quad alliance, composed of the U.S., Australia, India and Japan at the White House next week. However when India is fighting shoulder to shoulder with China for rules based order, from borders of Bhutan to Ladakh to Indian Ocean to South China Sea and for the respect of small, medium and island countries, excluding India in AUKUS has come as a big shock.
Though India has nuclear submarines, India should also have been included in the AUKUS. India needs critical technology. Indian sailors, scientists and its industries are looking to expand their military capabilities and critical technologies. India is the torchbearer of democracy and is the largest democracy of the world. It is fighting, innovating and sharing next generation technology to cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technology and undersea capabilities. If India is not in AUKUS then who? India is fighting to stop forced debt traps, forced droughts, fighting terror and standing with the world for justice. It is thwarting cultural genocide and authoritarianism. India strives for democracy and growth. If India is included, it will be a great victory for world democracy.
(Opinion expressed are author’s own)