The newly tri-nation partnership AUKUS is aimed at countering China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region. Is it going to supersede the existing partnerships in the region? Discuss the strength and impact of AUKUS in the present scenario. Analyze. UPSC 2021, 15 Marks

Q20. भारतप्रशांत महासागर क्षेत्र में चीन की महत्ताकांक्षाओं का मुकाबला करना नई त्रिराष्ट्र साझेदारी AUKUS का उद्देश्य है। क्या यह इस क्षेत्र में मौजूदा साझेदारी का स्थान लेने जा रहा है?  वर्तमान परिदृश्य में, AUKUS की शक्ति और प्रभाव की विवेचना कीजिए। (उत्तर 250 शब्दों में दीजिए)
Q20. The newly tri-nation partnership AUKUS is aimed at countering China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region. Is it going to supersede the existing partnerships in the region? Discuss the strength and impact of AUKUS in the present scenario. (Answer in 250 words) 15

Answer:

Under the ‘AUKUS’ alliance, the three countries, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia, will collaborate to improve the development of joint capabilities and technology exchange.

The focus of AUKUS will be on integrating all science, supply networks, industrial bases, and technologies relevant to defense and security.

The collaboration would also include a new architecture of meetings and interactions between the three countries, as well as collaboration across emerging technologies such as AI, quantum technologies, and submarine capabilities.

According to many experts the major aim of AUKUS is to counter raising footprints of aggressive china in the Indo pacific region. Many foreign experts also compared AUKUS with QUAD grouping. India along with USA, Japan and Australia are part of QUAD, whose major objective is to create deterrence against China in the Indo pacific region. 

It also supports other regional arrangement like the Five Eyes intelligence cooperation programme

The Five Eyes (FVEY) intelligence alliance consists of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, which also has overlapping role with AUKUS.

Will AUKUS dilute the other similar groupings/ Mechanism?

No, AUKUS will not undermine QUAD or The Five Eyes, since there are structural differences in the aim, objective and nature of all grouping. Countering China is just one common aim of all the groupings.

QUAD vs AUKUS

  • “The Quad is a plurilateral grouping. It is a group of countries that has a shared vision of their attributes and values. They also have a shared vision of the Indo-Pacific region as a free, open, transparent and inclusive region.
  • According to India’s foreign secretary, the Quad has a proactive agenda for example, delivering vaccines to countries in the Indo-Pacific region to combat the covid-19 pandemic. 
  • “On the other hand, AUKUS is a three-country security alliance.” India is not a member of this alliance. This, in our opinion, is neither relevant to the Quad nor will it have any effect on its operation.

How AUKUS will impact the present Geo-politics 

  • Impact on India and Japan: The Prime Minister of Australia stated that he had called the leaders of Japan and India to explain the new alliance. This is critical considering that Japan, India, Australia, and the United States already have a strategic conversation known as ‘the Quad,’ which also wants more cooperation among the Indo-Pacific region’s member nations. Notably, India and Japan have a tense relationship with China, which is becoming more forceful. The trilateral configuration would complement layouts like the Quad.
  • On China: Despite the fact that none of the countries mentioned China when announcing the agreement, and that the alliance was not aimed at any one country in particular, the Counter China policy is very visible in the new trilateral security partnership, with an emphasis on aspects such as upholding the international rules-based order and promoting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific in light of China’s assertiveness in the region.
  • The transfer of nuclear propulsion technology to an ally was meant to convey a reassuring message to Asian countries. China has warned that the new accord will jeopardize regional peace and stability, “intensify” an arms race, and undermine international non-proliferation efforts.
  • Impact on USA: This development appears to be an extension of the United States’ pivot to Asia policy, which emphasizes the importance of focusing more attention on the Indo-Pacific region while shifting away from conflicts in West Asia.
  • This is also an extension of the United States’ announced in 2018 Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA), which authorizes US$1.5 billion in spending for a variety of US programmes in East and Southeast Asia to “develop a long-term strategic vision and a comprehensive, multifaceted, and principled US policy for the Indo-Pacific region.”
  • The Indo-Pacific region has grown in importance in the United States’ foreign policy calculus as tensions with China have risen.
  • Apart from India and Japan, another major stakeholder of Indo pacific, France is not included in the AUKUS grouping. This has further expanded the scope of Indo- France strategic partnership in the Indo pacific region.

Despite not being a part of AUKUS, it is in India’s strategic interest and it is also complementing QUAD.  

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