AUKUS is a military partnership formed by US, UK and Australia wherein US is transferring Critical Nuclear Submarine Technology to Australia in order to counter Chinese Influence.
Impact on Existing partnerships
- It complements similar arrangements for the region, including the Five Eyes initiative, ASEAN and the Quad.
- In a multipolar world devoid of clear alliances, mini-lateral engagements like AUKUS does not necessarily overshadow the existing partnerships like Quad because of the common agenda of Free and open Indo-pacific and ASEAN centrality.
- The impact on existing partnerships would depend upon the Synergy and divergence between the members of these partnerships.
Strengths of AUKUS
- Being the first of its kind military alliance, it assures regional countries of US’ commitments in the Indo – Pacific security architecture.
- Shot in the arm for the larger Indo-Pacific agenda.
- Fills the vacuum created by the reluctance of Quad to be seen as an anti-China military alliance.
- Augments the aim of QUAD of countering Chinese ambitions.
- Useful in responding to any military provocation by China.
- Clarifies the role of big powers in the Indo-Pacific.
- Augments defense capabilities of Australia in countering China.
- Makes Quad grouping relatively more palatable to ASEAN.
- Side-lining of France discourages consensus on the larger issue of the rise of China.
- Shrinks the potential space available for the Quad, and India, to play a serious role in the region’s security architecture.
- Militarisation of the Indo-Pacific region will lead to Arms race.
- Makes it difficult for many ASEAN countries which want to remain neutral.
With India’s reluctance to join any military alliance, AUKUS by Augmenting Quad’s objective, increases India’s quest for a free and Open Indo – Pacific in line with its principle of Strategic autonomy.