AUKUS Partnership

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • AUKUS partnership
  • What is AUKUS partnership?
  • What is the significance of this deal? 
  • How China views this agreement?
  • News Summary: AUKUS Partnership


Why in news?

  • The United States, Australia and Britain unveiled details of a plan to provide Australia with nuclear-powered attack submarines from the early 2030s to counter China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific.
  • This agreement was finalised under the 2021 AUKUS partnership.


AUKUS partnership

What is AUKUS partnership?

  • Signed in September 2021, the new enhanced trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States is named as “AUKUS”
    • This is a trilateral defence deal for Indo-Pacific.
  • The first major initiative of AUKUS would be to deliver a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Australia.
  • These countries, however, made it clear that their aim is not to arm the new submarines with nuclear weapons.
    • This is because Australia is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) which bans it from acquiring or deploying nuclear weapons.


What is the significance of this deal? 

  • US has only shared nuclear submarine technology once before in 1958 with Great Britain.
  • For Indo-Pacific Region
    • Under this partnership, technology, scientists, industries and defence forces of these three countries will work together to deliver a safer and more secure region.
    • Some analysts feel that this partnership will lead to intensified arms race in the region.
  • For Australia
    • Australia has never had nuclear-powered submarines. 
    • Hence, this step will give Australia naval heft in the Pacific, where China has been particularly aggressive. 
    • Critics, on the other hand, claim that this deal would antagonise Beijing which will not be good for Australia. 
    • Australia is now set to join an elite group of only six countries – India, US, UK, France, Russia and China – that operate nuclear-powered submarines. 
      • It will also be the only country to have such submarines without having a civilian nuclear power industry.
  • For India
    • The new pact will add to the global efforts to balance China in the region.
    • It should be noted that Australia and India are close strategic partners in the Indo-Pacific region. 
    • Australia is also a member of QUAD group. A stronger Australia would lead to further strengthening of QUAD. 
  • For France
    • France is not happy with the deal and has termed this deal a “stab in the back”.
    • Australia had signed a contract to buy 12 Attack-class submarines from France in 2016. The first submarine was expected to be operational around 2034.
    • As a result of the current deal, Australia ditched the contract.


How China views this agreement?

  • China denounced a new Indo-Pacific security alliance saying such partnerships should not target third countries.
  • It claims that the current cooperation would gravely undermine regional peace and stability, aggravate arms race and hurt the international non-proliferation efforts.
  • China claimed that western powers are using nuclear exports for geopolitical gaming tools.
    • Under this deal, highly-sensitive nuclear powered submarine technology will be exported to Australia. 


News Summary: AUKUS Partnership

  • The United States, Australia and Britain unveiled details of a plan to provide Australia with nuclear-powered attack submarines from the early 2030s.
  • Under the deal, the United States intends to sell Australia three US Virginia class nuclear-powered submarines, in the early 2030s, with an option for Australia to buy two more if needed.
  • The multi-stage project would culminate with British and Australian production and operation of a new submarine class – SSN-AUKUS.
    • SSN-AUKUS will be a trilaterally developed vessel based on Britain’s next-generation design.
    • It would be built in Britain and Australia and include cutting edge U.S. technologies.
  • Britain would take delivery of its first SSN-AUKUS submarine in the late 2030s, and Australia would receive its first in the early 2040s.


Q1) What is nuclear submarine?

A nuclear submarine is a type of submarine powered by a nuclear reactor that provides heat to produce steam, which drives turbines to propel the vessel. The nuclear reactor replaces the traditional diesel engine and allows the submarine to remain submerged for long periods of time without the need to surface for air. This gives nuclear submarines significant advantages over conventional diesel-electric submarines, including greater endurance, speed, and stealth capabilities.


Q2) What is conventional Submarine?

A conventional submarine is a type of underwater vessel that uses a diesel-electric powertrain to operate. Unlike nuclear submarines, which are powered by a nuclear reactor, conventional submarines rely on diesel engines to generate electricity, which powers electric motors that drive the propeller. Conventional submarines have a more limited range and endurance than nuclear submarines, as they require regular surfacing to recharge their batteries and replenish their oxygen supply. They are also slower and less stealthy than nuclear submarines, making them more vulnerable to detection.


Source: Eyeing China, Biden and allies unveil nuclear-powered submarine plan for Australia | India Today | Times of India