Issue Brief on “AUKUS Advances: Implications for Regional and Global Security”

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The US, Australia and UK are taking forward their cooperation under the AUKUS deal announced in September 2021. The AUKUS was meant to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines and provide joint advanced military capabilities. In April 2022, the three countries announced that they will now expand that cooperation to include hypersonic missiles and counter-hypersonic measures, as well as electronic warfare capabilities and information sharing. It is important to assess what the deal means for regional and global security as well as for the non-proliferation regime. What are the dynamics of the AUKUS deal and what are the implications of their cooperation on hypersonic missiles?

AUKUS would help Australia acquire technology to build nuclear-powered submarines in collaboration with the US and UK. Australia is set to acquire up to eight nuclear submarines under AUKUS. This is contentious because nuclear material is a controlled substance produced mostly by nuclear weapon states and has never been provided to a country like Australia that does not have the technology. This has raised non-proliferation concerns over the dissemination of the technology. Australia is the first-ever state that is being given nuclear-powered submarine technology. AUKUS would also give Australia greater sharing of intelligence.

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