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AUKUS Agreement – International Relations

AUKUS Agreement

International Relations

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  • It was a new three-way strategic defence alliance between Australia, the UK and US,  to build a class of nuclear-propelled submarines.
  • It was also aimed to work together in the Indo-Pacific region, where the rise of China is seen as an increasing threat and develop wider technologies.
  • The deal marks the first time the US has shared nuclear propulsion technology with an ally apart from the UK.
  • It is a trilateral security collaboration for the Indo-Pacific signed in 2021 by Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States (AUKUS).
  • The main feature of this agreement is the transfer of US nuclear submarine advancements to Australia.
  • Its Indo-Pacific orientation positions it as a counter-alliance to China’s assertive behaviour in the South China Sea.
  • It entails a new framework of meetings and engagements between the three nations, as well as cross-industry collaboration on new innovations (applied AI, quantum technologies and undersea capabilities).
  • The United States, United Kingdom, and Australia recently revealed details of their plan to build a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines to counter China’s impact in the Indo-Pacific region. 
  • Under the AUKUS treaty, Australia will acquire a minimum of three nuclear-powered submarines from the United States.
  • The AUKUS agreement, which includes Australia procuring nuclear-powered submarines with the assistance of the United States and the United Kingdom, is being lauded and criticised at the same time. 
  • It is seen as a way of bolstering deterrence and cohesion in the Indo-Pacific region. 
  • China, on the other hand, sees it as an adverse alliance that the US is forming in the region, along with the Quadrilateral forum or the Quad.
  • This agreement will have a number of strategic ramifications for Asia, including India. 
  • But nevertheless, it also presents a chance for India to forge a distinct set of relationships with the US and its partners.

Concerns Over AUKUS Grouping

  • The AUKUS collaboration has been viewed as a threat to the region’s security and stability, particularly by China. 
  • The agreement includes the sharing of sensitive defence technologies and knowledge, which has raised concerns about the initiative’s implications on the region’s strategic balance.

Diplomatic Impact

  • The AUKUS partnership has also been perceived as a diplomatic debacle for nations like India, Japan, and South Korea, which have conventionally been viewed as key regional partners of the US.
  • These countries are concerned that the new alliance will marginalise the traditional partners and diminish their position in the area.

Implication of Nuclear Technology Transfer

  • The exchange of nuclear-powered submarine technological capabilities to Australia under the AUKUS partnership has raised concerns about the impact on global non-proliferation initiatives.
  • Some experts are concerned that this action will set  precedent and inspire other nations to explore nuclear capabilities

Counter to AUKUS

  • According to China, the new Global Security Initiative will work against the Cold War Mentality.
  • It will counter the US Indo-Pacific Strategy, Quad (India, US, Australia and Japan grouping) and AUKUS (Australia, UK and US).
  • It Aims to Establish an Asian security model that substitutes:
    • Confrontation
    • Coalition
    • Zero-sum framework with Communication, Collaboration, and Win-Win outcomes.

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