Australia says it will maintain sovereignty within AUKUS security pact

Sydney, Australia, Feb 9 (EFE).- Australia’s Defense Minister Richard Marles said Thursday that the country will maintain its sovereignty within the AUKUS security pact with the United States and the United Kingdom, under which it will obtain nuclear-powered submarines.

This agreement between the three traditional allies, announced in September 2021, seeks to counter China’s growing influence in the strategic Indo-Pacific region, the scene of several territorial disputes and where Beijing’s increasing militarization is viewed with concern.

In a speech in parliament, Marles described the AUKUS – an acronym for the alliance between Australia, the UK and the US – as “an example of how countries with shared values and a commitment to peace and security in the region can work together in innovative ways.”

There have been concerns among certain political sectors that the development of nuclear submarines will reduce Australia’s independence in taking military decisions.

The defense minister said that the government “will only approve foreign military or intelligence activities occurring in, from or through Australia where they are in our national interest.”

“These decisions are not dictated by the interests of other nations – rather they are mutually agreed activities in the interests of both countries,” added Marles, who is also deputy prime minister.

For years, the Oceania country has increased defense spending to update its arsenal in order to maintain control over the Indo-Pacific in the face of Beijing’s growing influence in the region, among other reasons.

“Australia’s partnerships provide a critical advantage in advancing our national interests while navigating this complex strategic environment,” Marles said.

Australia is also a part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, known as Quad, along with the US, Japan and India.

The signing of the AUKUS agreement led Australia – then under the conservative government of Scott Morrison – to cancel a multi-billion dollar contract with French military shipyard Naval Group for a new fleet of conventional submarines, which sparked frictions with Paris that have been resolved by the current administration. EFE


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