AUKUS Security Grouping – UPSC GS2

AUKUS Security Group:
  • It is a new Security group announced by US before Quad summit.
  • It is a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific, between Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. (AUKUS).
  • As part of this, Australia will acquire nuclear-powered submarines with help from the U.K. and the US within 18 months.
What are the key features of AUKUS Security Alliance?
  • Australia will acquire nuclear-powered submarines. This is significant as the USA sharing the technology for nuclear submarines. This has happened only once in 70 years, when it shared the technology with the UK in 1958. Note: Australia is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) which bans it from acquiring or deploying nuclear weapons. So, Australia is not seeking to acquire nuclear weapons or establish a civil nuclear capability under the partnership.
  • The AUKUS security grouping will focus on advancing strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • This trilateral grouping is security-focused.
  • Compliment the efforts of QUAD in Indo-Pacific: The Quad is not a security grouping, so the AUKUS brings a security adjunct to the Quad. For the present, the Quad and AUKUS will move on parallel tracks, with the possibility that in future, the two could merge.
  • Countering China in the Indo-Pacific, especially in the South China Sea: The nuclear-powered submarines will give Australia naval heft in the Pacific, where China has been particularly aggressive. With nuclear-powered submarines, the Royal Australian Navy now has the capability to go into the South China Sea to protect its assets and conduct patrols.
  • Compliment other regional groupings in Indo-Pacific: Apart from complimenting the QUAD, the AUKUS will also compliment the other security alliances in the Indo-Pacific. These include the ANZUS and Five Eyes alliance.
  • Five Eyes Alliance:
    • About: The Five Eyes alliance (states) is an intelligence-sharing arrangement between five English-speaking democracies: the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
    • Objective: These countries are signatories to the UKUSA Agreement for their cooperation in signal intelligence. The alliance or network monitors the electronic communications of citizens and foreign governments.
    • Recent news: India recently joined the Five Eyes alliance.
  • ANZUS: Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS or ANZUS Treaty) is the 1951 collective security non-binding agreement between Australia and New Zealand to cooperate on military matters in the Pacific Ocean region.
What the AUKUS Security Alliance meant for India?
  • Upgrade India’s allies in the region: QUAD is meaningless without the necessary capability upgrade for all its members, especially Australia and Japan. This will make India’s partners become more self-confident and assured of their defence capabilities.
  • The AUKUS and a future American military base on Australian soil will help India’s efforts to protect the Indo-Pacific.
  • Provide necessary time to India to build naval capabilities:  Further, The AUKUS will buy some valuable time for India to beef up the country’s own naval capabilities.
  • Improve India’s ambition in International relations: The partnership would allow India to be more ambitious in its foreign policy and defence approach.
What are the challenges associated with the AUKUS Security Alliance?
  • Promote Nuclear arms race: This view is reflected by China and by other South-Asian Countries like North Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • Create a Cold-war like scenario: As US-China relations unravelled in recent years, nations in the Indo-Pacific have found it increasingly difficult to navigate between the two superpowers.
  • Unpredictable behaviour of America in foreign ties: The US not even informed or consulted any other partners in the region, For instance, countries like France, Canada, New Zealand, and Japan were not invited to join this partnership. Recently, the US has clarified that India or Japan would not be added to the AUKUS alliance.
  • The French government termed this move of the US as a “brutal, unilateral, unpredictable decision”, “Allies don’t do this to each other“. On the other hand, Canada expects the AUKUS should be a CAUKUS with Canada on board.
  • Trouble the relations with France: For signing this AUKUS partnership, Australia had cancelled the $65 billion worth deal it signed in 2016 with France for building 12 of the world’s largest conventional submarines. Now, France is demanding explanations from all sides and called the initiative a “stab in the back” and recalled its envoys from Australia and the US. Further, a harsh legal battle over the contract appears inevitable.
  • Against the 1984 nuclear-free zone policy of Australia and New Zealand: The announcement of the partnership led to a minor tussle with New Zealand. According to the nuclear-free zone policy, Australia’s nuclear-powered submarines would not be allowed into the New Zealand territorial waters.
India now has a little less to worry about on the maritime front with AUKUS in play. The new alliance would allow the three nations to sharpen their focus on an increasingly complicated part of the world. The AUKUS trilateral will be a huge message to China, and it will move a step closer to balance China in the Indo-Pacific region.

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