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AUKUS Alliance: All about trilateral security partnership between the UK, US and Australia

Arfa Javaid

On 15 September 2021, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia announced a new trilateral security partnership, AUKUS, that will focus on advancing strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region. 

The security grouping was announced in a joint press conference between the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

"This is a historic opportunity for the three nations, with like-minded allies and partners, to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region," the joint statement read.

Tune in as I deliver remarks on a national security initiative – joined virtually by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson. https://t.co/reAHEnNxAZ

— President Biden (@POTUS) September 15, 2021

Highlights of AUKUS Alliance

1- As part of this security grouping, the nuclear-powered submarines will be built in Adelaide, Australia, in close cooperation with the U.K. and the U.S.

2- Within 18 months, the first fleet of nuclear-powered submarines will be delivered. The pact will help Australia to acquire submarines that are quieter, capable of being deployed for longer periods and remain submerged for longer periods than conventional submarines. 

3- The trilateral grouping will involve a new architecture of meetings, engagements, and cooperation across emerging technologies such as applied AI, quantum technologies and undersea capabilities.

4- With this, Australia will join the league of nations that operate nuclear-powered submarines. These are the U.S., the U.K., France, China, India and Russia.

The UK, Australia and the USA are forming a new trilateral defence partnership that will preserve security and stability around the world.

It will also create hundreds of high-skilled jobs across the country, driving forward our levelling up agenda.#AUKUS https://t.co/W1MibdaBDc

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 16, 2021

The AUKUS will advance strategic interests, uphold the international rules-based order, promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, along with generating hundreds of high-skilled jobs. 

It is the most significant security arrangement between the three nations since World War II, as per the analysts. The AUKUS is different from, but complementary to other groupings such as Quad and Five Eyes Network. 

Tensions between Australia and China

Tensions between Australia and an increasingly assertive China have grown manifold, its largest trade partner. Last year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and prior to that, it banned Chinese telecom giant Huawei. To this, the Chinese side retaliated by imposing tariffs on Australian exports. 

Australia is not on good terms with France as well, after the former turned down the A$50bn deal to build 12 submarines. The French Foreign Minister, Le Drian, termed it as a betrayal by Australia. 

Nuclear powered submarines

1- These are faster and harder to detect than conventional submarines. 

2- They can remain submerged for months, shoot missiles at a longer distance, among other features. 

The US is sharing its submarine technology for the first time in 50 years and had shared it previously only with the UK. The Australian side has assured that it has no intention of obtaining nuclear weapons or establish a civil nuclear capability. 

Today, Australia begins an enhanced trilateral security partnership with the UK and the US to enable deeper cooperation on security and defence capabilities. This is an historic opportunity for our countries to strengthen our nations’ security in uncertain times. #AUKUS

— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) September 15, 2021

Also Read: What is Five Eyes Countries Economic Pact?

The USA formed a new Quad Group with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan: Here's what you need to know

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