Aukus Pact Much More Than About Nuclear Submarines: PM Morrison

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Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Aukus Pact Much More Than About Nuclear Submarines: PM Morrison” – below is their description.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Aukus, the new defense deal with the U.S., U.K. and Australia, is meant to deepen diplomatic security and defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

“To state the obvious, Aukus is about much more than nuclear submarines,” said Morrison as he spoke remotely at an Australian Strategic Policy Institute summit. “Aukus will see Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States promote deeper information sharing, foster greater integration of security and defense-related science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains, and strengthen our cooperation in advanced and critical technologies and capabilities.”

What is Aukus? It’s a new security partnership that will see Australia acquire nuclear-powered submarine technology — but not nuclear weapons — from the U.S. and U.K. While it could take more than a decade for Australia to build its first sub, the agreement shows the U.S. seeking to form a more cohesive defense arrangement in Asia to offset China’s rapidly modernizing military. Australia has long tried to balance security ties with the U.S. and its close economic ties with China, insisting it didn’t need to pick sides. But Beijing’s barrage of punitive trade reprisals following Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s push for an investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic appears to have drastically changed the strategic calculus in Canberra.

Why are the submarines important? Nuclear-powered vessels are vastly superior to their diesel-electric counterparts: They’re faster, can stay submerged almost indefinitely, and are bigger — allowing them to carry more weapons, equipment and supplies. Given Australia’s remote location and the fact its subs may operate in waters stretching from the Indian Ocean up to Japan, these are big pluses. Until now, only six nations — the U.S., U.K., France, China, Russia and India — have had the technology to deploy and operate nuclear-powered subs. France was enraged by the Aukus deal, which came as a surprise, because Australia simultaneously canceled a $66 billion agreement it had had with Paris for conventional subs.

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