- 16 Sep 2021
- 3 min read
Why in News
Recently, the US has announced a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific, between Australia, the UK and the US (AUKUS).
- The major highlight of this arrangement is the sharing of US nuclear submarine technology to Australia.
- Focusing on Indo-Pacific: The security grouping AUKUS will focus on advancing strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Though the US has explicitly denied that the grouping is targeted against China, its Indo-pacific orientation makes it an alliance against China’s assertive actions in the South China Sea.
- The three countries alongside Canada and New Zealand already share extensive intelligence through the Five Eyes alliance.
- Transferring Nuclear Submarines to Australia: As part of this initiative, Australia will acquire nuclear-powered submarines with help from the UK and the US.
- This step is significant because the US has only shared nuclear submarine technology once before, and it started in 1958 with Great Britain.
- Nuclear submarines that are quieter than their conventional counterparts but also more capable of being deployed for longer periods and needing to surface less frequently.
- Alongside India’s stated intent to acquire more nuclear-powered submarines, it will amount to a step-change increase in the Quad’s undersea and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
- Quad is a grouping of India, USA, Australia and Japan.
- Australia is now set to join an elite group of only six countries – India, the US, the UK, France, Russia and China – that operate nuclear-powered submarines. It will also be the only country to have such submarines without having a civilian nuclear power industry.
- Multi-Sectoral Cooperation: AUKUS will also involve a new architecture of meetings and engagements between the three countries, as well as cooperation across emerging technologies (applied AI, quantum technologies and undersea capabilities).
Five Eyes Alliance
- The Five Eyes alliance is an intelligence-sharing arrangement between five English-speaking democracies: the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
- The alliance was created during the Cold War (1946-1991) that was fought between the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as their respective allies.
- The alliance was needed to share sensitive information regarding their adversaries on all possible fronts available.
- It is often described as the world's most successful intelligence alliance.