What does new Indo-Pacific Alliance, the AUKUS, mean for International Community? « Khabarhub
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What does new Indo-Pacific Alliance, the AUKUS, mean for International Community?



The three major powers, two from the West and one from Asia, announced on 15th September 2021 yet another major grouping in the Indo-Pacific Region, known as the AUKUS (Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States). This historic step will change the entire equation in the region and will construct a new Indo-Pacific alliance.

The AUKUS announcement comes just before the Quad summit in Washington D.C, scheduled to be on 24th September 2021 where the four major countries would discuss the issues related to the Indo-Pacific and other security concerns. Likewise, the rising Chinese positions, both soft and hard, and activities are major concerns for the countries that share common beliefs, such as the rule of law and democracy.

Talking about the challenges facing the international community in the Indo-Pacific region, the Prime Minister of Australia stated while initiating the AUKUS, “We have always believed in a world that favors freedom; that respects human dignity, the rule of law, the independence of sovereign states, and the peaceful fellowship of nations…our world is becoming more complex, especially here in our region, the Indo-Pacific…to help deliver the security and stability our region needs and we must take our partnership to a new level, AUKUS”. This demonstrates the urgent need of upgrading the partnership to a security and defense alliance level which would cover tech and non-tech subjects.

This region is important for several reasons, such as geographical location, strategic setting, geo-economics, and most importantly the protection and safe passages of commercial ships as most countries are dependent on the ocean for exports and imports of energy.

Here, it is imperative to ask why countries are actively engaging in the Indo-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific, which was a contested region for a long time and countries were shied from taking official position over this undefined construct, covers vast geographical boundaries from the eastern shore of Africa to the Pacific Ocean, via the Indian Ocean, South China Sea, etc.

This region is important for several reasons, such as geographical location, strategic setting, geo-economics, and most importantly the protection and safe passages of commercial ships as most countries are dependent on the ocean for exports and imports of energy.

Along with trade, the peaceful rise of China in and around the region is presented a major concern that may overtake the long-established international law on the sea and shape the Indo-Pacific with the features of and based on the Chinese visions. The objective of the AUKUS is “to preserve security and stability in the Indo-Pacific”.

What brings close to these countries? These countries come together to forge the AUKUS. Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States as they share historical ties, democracy, freedom, human rights, and international law-based regimes.

In this complex setting and shared concerns, the formation of an organized alliance sets another milestone in the geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific region.  It is precisely claimed that the AUKUS will be “a partnership where our technology, our scientists, our industry, our defense forces are all working together to deliver a safer and more secure region that ultimately benefits all”.

Moreover, it would be an alliance of sorts that would send a precise message to the People’s Republic of China to follow international law in the maritime domain. The first major initiative of AUKUS is “to help Australia acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines, emphasizing, of course, that the submarines in question will be powered by nuclear reactors, not armed with nuclear weapons…will be fully in line with non-proliferation obligations”.

The AUKUS will counter the Chinese activities in the region. This partnership along with other partners and friends would ensure a stable and free Indo-Pacific region.

The United States President Biden underlines the mission of this group by stating that, “our nations will update and enhance our shared ability to take on the threats of the 21st century just as we did in the 20th century: together”.

President Biden states about the new alliance with a new format that, “It’s about connecting America’s existing allies and partners in new ways and amplifying our ability to collaborate, recognizing that there is no regional divide separating the interests of our Atlantic and Pacific partners”.

President Biden highlights the importance of the AUKUS that it seeks to “bring together our sailors, our scientists, and our industries to maintain and expand our edge in military capabilities and critical technologies, such as cyber, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and undersea domains”.

This alliance does affirm the importance of other partnerships in the Indo-Pacific. They will work with the ASEAN organization, Quad, and other partners in the region as well in order “to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific, and build a future of peace, the opportunity for all the people of the region” (The US President Biden 15 September 2021).

Thus, the AUKUS alliance in Indo-Pacific comes at the point of time when the world is facing an unprecedented pandemic and struggling to recover from its catastrophic consequences, at the same time, it is witnessed rising Chinese assertive activities in the South China Sea by formulating new laws of the sea that would use direct military means by its coast guards ships to other littoral states and the UNCLOS based on international law.

The AUKUS will counter the Chinese activities in the region. This partnership along with other partners and friends would ensure a stable and free Indo-Pacific region.

(Chander Shekhar is a Doctoral Student at Jawaharlal Nehru University, India)

Publish Date : 21 September 2021 08:20 AM

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