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Current Affairs

AUKUS agreement

Date: 18 September 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

 A new defence deal has been announced by the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia under which Australia will be helped to deploy nuclear-powered submarines in the Pacific region.

 

Background

The deal is seen as an effort to negate threats posed by China in the Indo-Pacific region. The move can offer extensive advantage in South China Sea.

 

Details

  • The security partnership between Australia, the UK and the US has been named as “AUKUS”. The partnership aims to deliver a safer and more secure region for everyone.

  • The first step in the partnership would be to deliver a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Australia.  Partners will work together to achieve this. 

  • The partners say that the aim would not be arming nuclear weapons but rather to assert their position in the region.

 

China-Australia relationship

  • The relationship between Australia and China has soured over the last few years. Earlier, China was Australia’s one of the biggest trading partners.

  • The concerns about China have forced Australia to join the Malabar Naval Exercise with the US, India, and Japan after last participating in the 2007 edition.

 

Benefits for Australia

  • The naval submarine is sure to give Australian navy teeth in Pacific. Australia never had a nuclear submarine and it would surely send fears among Chinese authorities.

  • Nuclear submarines will give the navy capabilities to venture far out into the ocean and launch attacks on enemies.

 

The tactical advantage of nuclear submarines

  • Conventional submarines are good for defensive purposes but nuclear submarines are designed to go over long distance at a higher speed, without being detected. It will help in protecting a country’s territory.

  • The agreement enables Royal Australian Navy to venture out into the South China Sea and protect its assets and conduct patrols.

  • Nuclear submarines have near infinite capacity to stay dived. They do not have to emerge on the surface except to replenish supplies for the crew. 

 

France’s opposition

  • Australia had signed a deal to buy 12 Attack-class submarines worth $90 Billion from the French shipbuilder Naval Group.

  • The decision by the AUKUS group to keep France out of the loop has been criticized by France. It has however expressed support for the measure to contain China.

 

India and Nuclear submarine

  • Apart from US, UK, France, Russia and China, India also has nuclear submarines. India first got the Soviet-built K-43 Charlie-class SSN in 1987 after being leased. It was renamed INS Chakra.

  • The indigenously made nuclear submarine, INS Arihant was launched in 2012. The second Arihant class submarine, INS Arighat will be commissioned soon.

  • INS Arihant completes India’s nuclear triad, which is the capacity to launch nuclear missiles from land, aircraft, and submarine.