Australia, the UK and the US on Wednesday (local time) announced an enhanced trilateral security partnership called "AUKUS" to deepen diplomatic, security, and defence cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
"The endeavour we launch today will help sustain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region," said a joint statement on the formation of a trilateral defence partnership.The new trilateral security partnership was announced in a virtual meeting between the US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
"As leaders of Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, guided by our enduring ideals and shared commitment to the international rules-based order, we resolve to deepen diplomatic, security, and defence cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, including by working with partners, to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century," added the statement.
US President Joe Biden, during Wednesday's announcement, also maintained that the establishment of AUKUS is necessary because "we need to be able to address both the current strategic environment in the region and how it may evolve."
"Because the future of each of our nations and indeed the world depends on a free and open Indo-Pacific, enduring and flourishing in the decades ahead. This is about investing in our greatest strength, our alliances, and updating them to better meet the threats of today and tomorrow," Biden added.
"AUKUS is a new enhanced security partnership between Australia, UK, and the US. AUKUS is a partnership where our technology, our scientists, our industry, and defence force all working together to deliver a safer and more secure region," said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
"The UK, Australia and US are natural allies - while we may be separated geographically, our interests and values are shared. The AUKUS alliance will bring us closer than ever, creating a new defence partnership and driving jobs and prosperity," said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson."
This partnership will become increasingly vital for defending our interests in the Indo-Pacific region and, by extension, protecting our people back at home," added Johnson.
Through AUKUS, the trilateral partnership will strengthen the ability of each to support our security and defence interests, building on our longstanding and ongoing bilateral ties. It will promote deeper information and technology sharing, foster deeper integration of security and defence-related science, technology, industrial bases, and supply chains and in particular, will significantly deepen cooperation on a range of security and defence capabilities, said the statement.
As the first initiative under AUKUS Australia in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy, added the statement.
"First major initiative of AUKUS will be an 18-month effort to deliver a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Australia. We will seek to determine the best way forward to achieve this. We intend to build these submarines in Australia in close cooperation with the UK and the US," said Morrison.
The development of Australia's nuclear-powered submarines would be a joint endeavour between the three nations, with a focus on interoperability, commonality, and mutual benefit.As per ABC News, Australia's next submarine fleet will be nuclear-powered under an audacious plan that will see a USD 90 billion programs to build up to 12 French-designed submarines scrapped.
"France, in particular, has already substantial Indo-Pacific presence as a key partner and ally in strengthening security and prosperity of the region. The US looks forward to working closely with France & other key countries as we go forward," said Biden.
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. Australia remains committed to fulfilling all of its obligations as non-nuclear weapons state, including with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Our three nations are deeply committed to upholding our leadership on global non-proliferation, read the statement.
AUKUS will enhance joint capabilities and interoperability. The initial efforts will focus on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities.For more than 70 years, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States have worked together, along with other important allies and partners, to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity.
Australia remains committed to fulfilling all of its obligations as non-nuclear weapons state, including with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Our three nations are deeply committed to upholding our leadership on global non-proliferation, read a joint statement on AUKUS.
(With inputs from ANI)