- GS-2: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
- GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements.
Context: The U.S. has joined with the U.K. and Australia to announce a new trilateral security partnership, the AUKUS.
Significance of AUKUS:
- AUKUS aims to ensure that there will be freedom and openness in the Indo-Pacific region, including the South China Sea.
- It complements several pre-existing similar arrangements for the region like Five Eyes intelligence cooperation initiative, ASEAN and the Quad
- It proposes to transfer technology to build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for Australia within 18 month.
- US has clarified that AUKUS was “not talking about nuclear-armed submarines. These are conventionally armed submarines that are powered by nuclear reactors.
- Although no explicit mention was made of China in any of the AUKUS announcements, this group challenges the regional hegemonic ambitions of China.
- The operationalisation of this security partnership lead to closer coordination among the nations concerned in terms of joint military presence, war games and more in the region.
- Australia’s domestic challenges: As per Australia’s 1984 nuclear-free zone policy, nuclear-powered submarines would not be allowed into the former’s territorial waters. Hence, there is a political opposition to it.
- Upset France: Australia had struck a deal with France for $90 billion worth of conventional submarines, which stands cancelled now. This has upset political leadership in France
- Battleground: The Indo-Pacific region will emerge as the new geopolitical battle ground posing greater security risk to others.
Connecting the dots:
- China’s Belt and Road Initiative