Issue Brief on “AUKUS: A Diplomatic Crisis or a Pandora’s Box of Proliferation?”


The United States, United Kingdom and Australia formed a new trilateral security partnership, AUKUS, on September 15, 2021. Under the agreement Australia will acquire nuclear powered submarines and the three countries will also share advanced nuclear technologies. The security partnership is problematic on many levels. It has triggered a diplomatic crisis with France that has a multi-billion-dollar conventional submarine deal scrapped with Australia. The alliance is meant as yet another effort to counter China’s rising influence. Last but not the least, it will open a Pandora’s box of nuclear proliferation that would best be left closed. It is, thus, imperative to examine the agreement and what it means in the diplomatic, strategic and non-proliferation arena.

According to the joint statement released by the three countries on AUKUS, the initial efforts will focus on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and additional undersea capabilities. The three countries will work on developing nuclear-powered submarines for Australia at the earliest.[1] The AUKUS is aimed at diplomatic, security and defense cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region in order to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. In fact, the alliance is meant to counter Chinese influence and power in the Indo-Pacific region.

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