Washington: A week before a meeting of Quad leaders in Washington DC, the Biden administration, on September 15, announced a new trilateral security partnership for the Indo-Pacific, between Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. (AUKUS). As part of this, Australia will acquire nuclear-powered submarines with help from the U.K. and the U.S.
In a joint statement, the three governments said the partnership, called "AUKUS", will help "significantly deepen cooperation on a range of security and defence capabilities". The first initiative under AUKUS will be delivering a nuclear-powered submarine fleet for Australia and the three countries will spend as many as 18 months discussing how this capability will be delivered, according to the statement.
Biden and Johnson said the nuclear-powered submarines that Australia wants to acquire are conventionally armed, noting that their countries will also be fully in line with their non-proliferation obligations.
A senior administration official said that AUKUS "is not aimed or about any one country," claiming that "it's about advancing our strategic interests, upholding the international rules-based order, and promoting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific".
There was no divide separating the interests of America’s Atlantic and Pacific partners, he said, adding that the U.S. would work with other partners in the region. Biden also singled out France for its growing presence in the region and role in strengthening security there.