Australia the UK and the USA have announced the forming of orcas a new trilateral grouping. It is a security partnership for the indo-pacific region between the three countries. It was formally announced by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison who joined USA president Joe Biden at the white house. And British prime minister Boris Johnson threw a video there as part of office Australia will build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with help and expertise from the UK and the USA.
Experts say the nuclear submarines will allow Australia to conduct longer patrols and give the alliance a stronger military presence in the region. Australia has also announced that it would acquire additional long range strike capabilities for its defense force.
Tomahawk Cruise Missile
These include the tomahawk cruise missile on destroyers extended range joint air to surface standoff missiles and long-range anti-ship missiles for fighter jets. This is in continuation of the collaboration with the USA to develop hypersonic missiles and precision strike guided missiles for land forces.
Orcas will also involve a new architecture of meetings and engagements between the three countries as well as cooperation across emerging technologies like applied ai quantum technology and undersea capabilities.
Australia’s high commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell said India was informed of office before it was formally announced. Australia will join a club of six countries the us the UK France Russia China and India who already have nuclear fuel submarines and this will be a step up for Australia in terms of its defense capabilities. It’s security provision capabilities in the indo-pacific and in addition to providing submarines to Australia the three allies part of the steel will also start interacting more frequently through their foreign ministries and their defense ministries. And out of that we can probably see more deliverables in the years to come in terms of the significance for the UK. The UK has been trying to find its feet a little bit post brexit and has said it wants a greater indo-pacific tilt in its foreign security and defense policies.
And we can say that august is a manifestation of this and Boris Johnson speaking at the aukus announcement virtually basically talked about employment opportunities for Britain from this deal for the USA. Of course this is another way to manage growing Chinese assertiveness in the region. The USA has said that Russia and china would love for it to be embroiled in Afghanistan for decades to come and the USA has now exited Afghanistan that frees up some bandwidth for the USA. The USA has only shared this submarine technology with one other country and that’s the UK.
About 70 years ago so it’s very significant that it’s sharing it with Australia. Now in terms of the significance for china we’re going to wait and see. How that plays out how it plays out.
In terms of how china engages with other countries in the pacific not surprisingly Beijing has reacted badly and has not really appreciated this announcement.
No surprises there the country that’s probably been most vocal about this announcement in a negative way is actually Franc Francis said it feels very stabbed in the back. It’s recalled its ambassadors from Washington and from Canberra which is a very unusual move for an ally to engage in and basically in addition to feeling let down and left out.
Franc has also said this comes at a commercial cost to it. France signed a deal in 2016 with Australia to provide Australia with diesel electric submarines that deal was valued at north of 66 billion dollars.
That’s a pretty hefty price tag and Australia is going to have to exit that deal with France. Now France has also said that this is going to have repercussions for NATO and also for how the EU is thinking about its own indo-pacific strategy in terms of the quad. Which is a group comprised of Australia India the USA and japan to the extent that this is going to be a step up as it will be to Australia’s capabilities and as far as security is concerned at the indo-pacific this will be a step up or the quad as well. The quad leaders are meeting in just a few days here in Washington dc.