On Tuesday, Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong said that the country is looking for nuclear-powered submarines to “better guarantee a successful strategy.” A day after the announcement of a plan to acquire up to eight of these submarines, Ms. Wong made a clear statement on the performance of the expected submarines.
|1. . Australia is one of the “middle power” countries in Southeast Asia, Ms. Wong stated while commenting on the purchase of nuclear submarines.|
|2. Since it did so with Britain in the 1950s, Washington will not have shared nuclear-propulsion technology with AUKUS.|
The U.S.A, U.K, and Australia released details of the plan on Monday to provide Australia with armed submarines to counter China’s naval dominance in the Indo-pacific. It is one of the significant steps taken in 2022 under the alliance named AUKUS.
Ms. Wong told CNA, “We do not seek to acquire this capability for any other purpose than to improve our ability to maintain strategic equilibrium.” In the interview, Ms. Wong, answering the question of how the country can be and being its Foreign Minister, reassures the growing concerns of the neighbouring countries.
However, Australia will be paying up to AUD$368 billion between 2023 and mid of the 2050s. Australia is one of the “middle power” countries in Southeast Asia, Ms. Wong stated while commenting on the purchase of nuclear submarines.
She also said, “we aim to acquire this capability to aid in peacekeeping. Like Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, we want a peaceful, stable, and prosperous region.”
She went on to say that Australia is acquiring this capability “crystal clear,” pointing to briefings it has given to leaders in other regions.
She continued, “more briefing will be provided by us. We will continue to communicate with the region and pay attention to their concerns.”
She emphasised, “the nation will never seek to acquire nuclear weapons.”
She further stated, “ we are attempting to replace an existing and ageing submarine capability with a new capability, which is nuclear propulsion, very different from nuclear-armed.”
AUKUS – Deal of Nuclear-powered Submarines
During the unveiling of the plan, on Monday, the leaders of the AUKUS alliance mentioned the financial support that Australia will be receiving with hundreds of billions of dollars to counter China’s ambitions in the Indo-pacific.
Australia will be receiving nuclear-powered attack submarines to strengthen the naval zone.
US President Joe Biden, accompanied by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, addressed a ceremony at the US naval base in San Diego.
He said that the agreement under the 2021 AUKUS partnership was part of a shared commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region with two of America’s “most stalwart and capable allies.”
Sunak referred to it as “a powerful partnership,” and he added, “Unexpectedly it will mean three armadas of submarines cooperating across the Atlantic and Pacific keeping our seas free … long into the future.”
According to a joint statement, the agreement calls for the United States to offer Australia the option to acquire two additional nuclear-powered submarines of the Virginia class made by General Dynamics in the early 2030s.
Also read: US-Australia Nuclear Agreement
According to the leaders’ statement, the multi-stage project would end with the production and operation of a new class of submarine, SSN-AUKUS, by British and Australian partners.
This “bilaterally developed” vessel would be built in Britain and Australia, based on Britain’s next-generation design, and would incorporate “cutting edge” US technologies.
Since it did so with Britain in the 1950s, Washington will not have shared nuclear-propulsion technology with AUKUS.
As an illegal act of nuclear proliferation, China has condemned AUKUS. Australia also upset France by abruptly cancelling a deal to purchase French conventional submarines when it started the partnership.