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AUKUS – Shaping Indo Pacific’s First Military “Alliance”

Indo Pacific lacked a cooperative security architecture that could diffuse concerns and obviate strategic rivalry, now a quasi collective security “alliance,” the AUKUS is slated to be disruptive with formulations that could lead to an arms and defence technology race.

In a joint media statement on September 16, the Prime Ministers of Australia and the UK along with President of the United States of America announced deepening of “diplomatic, security, and defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, including by working with partners, to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century,” and, “creation of an enhanced trilateral security partnership called “AUKUS” -- Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States”.

The aim of the AUKUS was defined as to, “ strengthen the ability of each to support our security and defense interests, …promote deeper information and technology sharing… foster deeper integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains and significantly deepen cooperation on a range of security and defense capabilities”.

Separately the AUKUS was described as a, “forever partnership,” “for a new time between the oldest and most trusted of friends”.

The first initiative in the AUKUS is to “support Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy,” by leveraging, “expertise from the United States and the United Kingdom, building on the two countries’ submarine programs to bring an Australian capability into service at the earliest achievable date”.

Eight submarines will be acquired by Australia through this route.

The focus will be to enhance “interoperability, commonality, and mutual benefit,” in which “Australia is committed to adhering to the highest standards for safeguards, transparency, verification, and accountancy measures to ensure the non-proliferation, safety, and security of nuclear material and technology,” as a non-nuclear weapons state, including with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Other areas of cooperation include, “cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities”.

Ostensibly the joint statement adds that the endeavour will, “sustain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region”.

Some of the underlying factors that resulted in this alliance were outlined in subsequent statements and briefings by the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison included a complex Indo-Pacific which will impact futures of the countries.

AUKUS is also expected to add to the, “network of partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region - ANZUS, ASEAN, Quad, Five Eyes countries and, the Pacific.

The first initiative is to build a fleet of nuclear submarines for Australia, “in Adelaide, Australia, in close cooperation with the United Kingdom and the United States”.

Prim Minister Scott Morrison claimed that Australia is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and will commit to, “nuclear non-proliferation obligations”.

On 16 Sep 2021 in another statement the Prime Minister of Australia along with the Minister for Defence, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women outlined the rationale in a statement indicating that as, “military modernisation is occurring at an unprecedented rate and capabilities are rapidly advancing and their reach expanding. The technological edge enjoyed by Australia and our partners is narrowing,” thus there was a necessity for leveraging, “joint capability and interoperability”.



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