Australia has joined forces with the United Kingdom and the United States to create a new defence pack, in response to an increasingly “complex” Indo-Pacific. The new grouping to be known as AUKUS will also see Australia acquire its first fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
“Our world is becoming more complex, especially here in our region – the Indo-Pacific,” Morrison said in a virtual event on Thursday morning. “This affects us all. The future of the Indo-Pacific will impact all our futures.
“To meet these challenges, to help deliver the security and stability our region needs, we must now take our partnership to a new level. A partnership that seeks to engage – not to exclude. To contribute, not take. And to enable and empower – not to control coerce.
“So AUKUS is born, a new trilateral relationship between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. AUKUS – a partnership where our technology, our scientists, our industry, our Defence Forces, are all working together to deliver a safer and more secure region that ultimately benefits all.”
However, the prime minister went on to say that while the US will share secret nuclear technology to help Australia switch to nuclear power boats, he made it abundantly clear that they are not trying to acquire nuclear weapons.
“But let me be clear — Australia is not seeking to establish nuclear weapons or establish a civil nuclear capability,” he said. “And we will continue to meet all of our nuclear non-proliferation obligations.
“We intend to build these submarines in Adelaide, Australia, in close cooperation with the United Kingdom and the United States.”
According to multiple reports, the move will see Australia scrap a $90 billion deal with French submarine maker Naval Group struck in 2016.