What is AUKUS?

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Overview:

The U.S., Britain and Australia are set to begin talks on bringing new members into their AUKUS security pact.

About AUKUS

  • It is a trilateral security partnership between the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Australia agreed in 2021.
  • AUKUS is intended to strengthen the ability of each government to support security and defense interests, building on longstanding and ongoing bilateral ties.
  • It consists of two key pillars.
    • Pillar 1 focuses on supporting Australia to acquire its first conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarine fleet. (It does not involve the transfer of nuclear weapons to Australia.)
    • Pillar 2 focuses on cooperation in eight advanced military capability areas:artificial intelligence (AI), quantum technologies, innovation, information sharing, and cyber, undersea, hypersonic and counter-hypersonic and electronic warfare domains.
  • Submarine Component:
    • It is designed to equip Australia with nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs).
    • In total, Australia will end up with eight of the new nuclear submarines, called SSN-AUKUS.
    • These submarines will be based on a British designbut have American technology or an American combat system.
    • AUKUS will make Australia the seventh country in the world to be armed with nuclear-powered submarines and the second, after the United Kingdom, with whom the United States has shared this technology.
    • It will significantly enhance Australia’s undersea capabilities in the Indo-Pacific as nuclear-powered submarines offer many advantages, such as extended range, endurance, and stealth—features.
    • 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.

Q1: What is the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT)?

The NPT is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.The Treaty represents the only binding commitment in a multilateral treaty to the goal of disarmament by the nuclear-weapon States.A total of 191 States have joined the Treaty, including the five nuclear-weapon States.India has not signed the NPT, citing concerns about the discriminatory nature of the treaty as it perpetuates the nuclear weapons monopoly of the five recognized nuclear weapon states (China, France, Russia, the UK, and the USA).

Source: U.S., Britain, Australia weigh expanding AUKUS security pact to deter China