The AUKUS Partnership | An Analysis of the Partnership’s Objectives & Geopolitical Implications

Agreement and Partnership is known as AUKUS

In September 2021, the leaders of the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom announced the formation of a new trilateral security partnership. This agreement and partnership is known as AUKUS. The agreement involves cooperation in areas such as defense, technology, and intelligence sharing. The announcement of the partnership has been met with a mix of reactions, with some welcoming the move as a positive step towards strengthening regional security, while others have criticized it as a provocative move that could escalate tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.

Before we dive into the AUKUS agreement, let’s take a step back. Australia urgently needs new subs to replace its six aging Collins-class submarines, which were slated for retirement in 2026. Without subs, Australia would be left vulnerable at a time of increasing tensions with China.

In 2014 Australia was close to buying up to 10 submarines from Japan in a move that would turn the north Asian country into a weapons exporter for the first time since World War II. But based off several reasons, one being to reduce the likelihood of antagonising China, Australia decided to pivot to France. But the 2019 deal had been plagued for several years by culture clashes between the two countries as well as lengthy disputes over budgets. Simply put, Australia needed a viable alternative. And in 2021, Australia controversially terminated the submarine deal with with France and instead partnered with the US and UK. Since the AUKUS’s agreement was announced in September 2021 to its formal agreement in 2023 – the joint partnership has been a hot topic.

China hawks in government praise the initiative and claim China’s growing assertiveness across a number of flashpoints including the Taiwan Strait, the South China Sea or East China Sea – has increased the chance of conflict breaking out on the high seas. Within Australia, the Defence Strategic Update warned the country no longer had a 10-year window to build its defences

The AUKUS agreement is primarily focused on enhancing security cooperation between the three nations in the Indo-Pacific region. The agreement aims to address the growing security challenges in the region, including the rise of China and its increasing assertiveness in territorial disputes, the threat of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and the challenges posed by terrorism, cyber threats, and other non-traditional security challenges. Government representatives claim AUKUS will provide Australia with a conventionally armed, nuclear powered submarine capability at the earliest possible date, while upholding the highest non‑proliferation standards. Moreover, the partnership will develop and provide joint advanced military capabilities to promote security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

But this agreement has also come under criticism by Australian politicians, military analysists and advisors. AUKUS could possibly box Australian foreign policy decision-making in and give the government fewer options, which is an undesirable thing. The historical record strongly suggests Australia needs greater independence in its security relations and greater distance from the US militarily. Moreover, that the nuclear submarine is much larger than the current older Collin’s Class Submarine. And with the additional weight and size, adds trade-offs with its capability and operations it is suitable for.

This video will provide an overview of the AUKUS agreement, including its objectives, key components, and implications for regional security and geopolitics.

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