The Aukus Agreement

Naseebullah Khan
Mackinder’s geopolitical analysis articulates the importance of oceanic water in world politics. The Aukus defense deal should be observed in this context as a matter of fact that rising China has been gaining a huge footprint on the Pacific Ocean so that to encounter China this trilateral agreement has taken shape. According to this agreement, Australia will get Submarine with nuclear capability. Apart from this, the signed nations will cooperate in cybersecurity, drone technology, artificial intelligence, to protect the undersea fiber optics, and quantum technology. The agreement has been harshly criticized by France and China. France, who had signed the French Australian submarine deal in 2016, of providing 12 Submarine worth 66 billion dollars to Australia is averse to the Aukus deal because of the cancellation of this mighty defense pact. The French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said “We had created a relationship of trust with Australia, but they have broken it that is a stab in the back”. The French government has also called their ambassadors from America and Australia as a sign of annoyance. On the flip side, the Chinese foreign office has called it irresponsible by saying that it will intensify the arms race. During the past two decades, China has been increasing its presence in the South Pacific region. China has been scaling up its trade with the South Pacific nations and has been damaging the mutual trade of these nations with Australia. Moreover, China has also been helping these nations with huge aid to the region and has provided 1.5 billion US Dollars aid between 2006 to 2017. These developments have irked Australia as once the Southern Pacific nations were dependent on Australia. Being an island continent, Australia needs a powerful Navy and this agreement will have undoubtedly, huge implications on the military might of the Australian Navy. Whereas, on one end, Australia would be the beneficiary of this agreement while on the other side, analyst Salman Basher, the ex-foreign Secretary of Pakistan observes that Australia would become the nodal point for carrying the military burdens of the US Indo_Pacific strategy. Post-Brexit Britain is trying to re-establish itself as a global player. Its political differences with China and the Issue of Taiwan have further deteriorated the bilateral relations between Britain and China. The old enmity with China and Chinese emerging economic and military power is another which has been compelling Britain to encounter China through this pact. As the UK national security adviser, Sir Stephen Lovegrove has made it clear that Aukus is about more than a class of submarine, and describing the pact as “perhaps the most significant capability of collaboration in the world anywhere in the past six decades” As far as the US is concerned, its rivalry and cold war with China who has been now challenging the sole economic and military authority of the US is no more secret. To encounter the rising China who has been occupying world markets economically and the Pacific, the US has taken this move with Australia and Britain. Before this, it had also established the QUAD alliance along with India, Japan, and Australia for the said purpose of the encirclement of China. The US will try its utmost to preserve its supremacy in the region, Asia, and the Indo_Pacific for which the Aukus has been laid down. For China, this defense pact might be an obstacle to its expansion in the Pacific. It will face a powerful trilateral alliance along with the QUAD. Although in the presence of deterrence both the Aukus alliance and China would not indulge in full pledge war, but the cold war between them might result in destabilization of the region. The brunt of which will be faced by the dependent regional countries. Viewing from regional perspectives, this defense pact might escalate the arms race in the Indian and Pacific oceans for maritime dominance among the countries. India has already equipped with such Submarines and its cooperation with America in sensitive technologies will further affect the strategic shift in the region, which will compel Pakistan to respond. This ongoing race sooner or later will compel South Korea and Japan for developing nuclear weapons. Apart from this, Malaysia and Indonesia have also expressed their concerns and considered it a catalyst for the nuclear arms race in the Indo_Pacific region. The fears are that this deal may provoke Iran and other Gulf countries for developing their nuclear deterrence capabilities in the future. Analysts are pointing to questions about the legality of the agreement and consider it against the IAEA and NPT. On one end, Australia is a signatory to the Treaty of Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), whereas, on the other side, the provision of nuclear technology except for peaceful purposes is banned according to the IAEA. But who cares. As per a report in the Economist, by quoting an American Official,” this technology is extremely sensitive,” acknowledged an American official, speaking anonymously on September 15th. This is, frankly, an exception to our policy in many respects. We view this as a one-off.” Nuclear-powered subs are sensitive not just because of their range, speed, and stealthiest. It is also because they are powered with the same stuff—usually, uranium enriched so that it has a higher proportion of the most fissile isotope, u-235—that is used in bombs. In the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, scholar Sébastien Philippe criticized AUKUS and wrote “we can now expect the proliferation of very sensitive military nuclear technology in the coming years, with literally tons of new nuclear materials under loose or no international safeguards. The Aukus trilateral defense pact for geopolitical dominance and maritime superiority will open new vistas of the nuclear arms race in the Indo-Pacific region. Though China has not been mentioned in the agreement the covert aim of the deal is to curtail China in the region which has been cementing its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.

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