Britain has inked a security pact with the US and Australia in the Indo-Pacific region, which will cover a series of projects in the areas of cyber warfare, artificial intelligence and quantum computing, along with building a nuclear-powered submarine fleet.
Senior British officials stressed that the new alliance is not aimed at any one country, but comes in the face of China’s increasingly aggressive stance and aims to protect the “rules-based international order” that Beijing has repeatedly accused of. Allegations of bar violation have been made. .
The first program of the AUKUS alliance will be the creation of a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for the Australian Navy, with American and British companies participating in the construction process.
The agreement, described as one of the most important of its kind for decades, was announced Wednesday in Washington, London and Canberra by US President Joe Biden and Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison.
“The UK, Australia and the US are natural allies – while we may be geographically separated, we share our interests and values,” Johnson said.
“The Ocus alliance will bring us closer than ever, building a new defense partnership and boosting jobs and prosperity. This partnership will help protect our interests in the Indo-Pacific and, by extension, our people back at home. will become important to bring.”
The naval plan would upgrade Australia’s electric and diesel-powered submarine fleets to nuclear-powered ones, while coalition members stress, still complying with Canberra’s non-proliferation treaties.
The declaration states that Australia is committed to “the highest standards for safeguards, transparency, verification and accounting measures to ensure the non-proliferation, safety and security of nuclear materials and technology”.
The initiative to build the fleet came from the Australian government in February. The initial phase of the program will take 18 months and several British firms are expected to be involved in the project.
Currently, only China and India operate nuclear-powered submarines in the Indo-Pacific. India is regarded as an Australian ally and the two countries regularly conduct military and naval exercises together.
Relations between Australia and China have deteriorated sharply after Canberra called for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and criticized Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong and Uighurs in Xinjiang as well as its aggressive stance on territorial waters .
China has responded with punitive sanctions on Australian imports. Hacking groups linked to Beijing have been accused of carrying out cyberattacks on multiple targets in Australia, including the country’s infrastructure, government services and educational establishments.
There have been encounters between the navies of the two countries on several occasions, including last year, when five Australian warships were on their way for exercises with the US near Hawaii.
Several countries have undertaken right of navigation visits in the South China Sea, including, most recently, a British naval strike force led by an aircraft carrier. Queen Elizabeth. The Chinese have often accused the countries involved of being provocateurs, and have warned of consequences if they claim to venture into the waters.
Declaring a “historic defense and security partnership … that will protect and protect our shared interests in the Indo-Pacific,” the coalition said: “The region is at the center of intense geopolitical competition with many potential flashpoints : from unresolved territorial disputes; to nuclear proliferation and miscalculations”, continues: “It is on the front lines of new security challenges, including cyberspace.”
Downing Street emphasized the potential financial benefits to Britain, saying that the UK “has built and operated world-class nuclear powered submarines for over 60 years.
“Therefore we will bring deep expertise and experience to the project, for example, the work done by Rolls-Royce near Derby and BAE Systems in Barrow,” it said.
“The design and manufacturing process will create hundreds of highly skilled scientific and engineering roles across the UK, and drive investment in some of our most high-tech sectors.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Australia