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OPINION                                                            NOVEMBER 18, 2022  |      The Indian Eye                     9

            One Year of AUKUS: An Assessment

                          of Progress and Challenges

         Since the announcement of AUKUS, China has been steadfast in its opposition to the trilateral defense agreement. It must
          be noted that the SSNs of both the US and the UK use highly enriched uranium (HEU) to power their nuclear reactors

        R. VIGNESH & ABHAY KUMAR SINGH    velopments that have happened so far   to provide Royal Australian Navy   commitment to the core objectives
                                          and analyses the possible challenges   (RAN) with deployment opportu-  of AUKUS, the statement called for
              he announcement of AUKUS    in order to understand the scope of   nities in both the Indian and Pacific   promoting deeper integration of in-
              by the leaders of Australia, the   AUKUS, a year since its conception.  Oceans. On 24 March 2022, the Aus-  dustrial bases, accelerating defense
        TUnited Kingdom (UK) and the          AUKUS was set in motion with   tralian Government announced plans   innovation and fostering resilient sup-
        United  States (US)  on  15 Septem-  the signing of ENNPIA by the then   to expand its largest shipbuilding fa-  ply chains.
        ber 2021 stunned the global strategic   Australian Defense Minister Pe-  cility, Osborne Shipyard, situated on   Since the announcement of
        community. The sharing of the cov-  ter  Dutton  on  22  November  2021.   the Southern Coast of Australia near   AUKUS, China has been steadfast in
        eted naval nuclear propulsion tech-  Subsequently, on 9 December 2021,   Adelaide. As the shipyard is already   its opposition to the trilateral defense
        nology for nuclear attack submarines   AUKUS’s  first  joint  steering  meet-  engaged in the construction of nine   agreement. It must be noted that the
        (SSN) with Australia by the US and   ing was held in Washington DC.   hunter-class frigates for the RAN, the   SSNs of both the US and the UK use
        UK was the hallmark of the AUKUS   The most significant outcome of this   expansion would facilitate the con-  highly enriched uranium (HEU) to
        agreement. Apart from enabling Aus-  meeting was the decision taken by the   struction of SSNs.       power their nuclear reactors. In com-
        tralia to acquire eight SSNs, the three   three countries to expand the trilater-  On 15 June 2022, the Australia–  parison to reactors that run on Low
        countries pledged to develop ad-  al cooperation under advanced tech-  US Submarine Officers Pipeline Act   Enriched Uranium (LEU), the HEU
        vanced capabilities in the areas of cy-  nologies beyond the four initial areas   was introduced in the US Congress.   reactors have a longer shelf-life of
        ber technology, Artificial Intelligence   that were highlighted in AUKUS’s   The purpose of this Bill is to enable   nearly 30 years which is equivalent to
        (AI), quantum technologies and ad-  maiden joint statement. Subsequent-  Australian submariners to receive   the operational life of the submarine
        vanced underwater vehicles (AUVs).   ly, on 8 February 2022, the ENNPIA   training in the US Navy Nuclear Pro-  itself.
        The AUKUS announcement was his-   entered into force. The record pace   pulsion School in South Carolina and   Australia, through the AUKUS
        toric given that the last time such sen-  of  the  finalization  of  ENNPIA  and   also serve aboard operational US   deal, is bound to receive similar nu-
        sitive technology was shared was over   the short interval of three months   Navy SSNs. In the following month,   clear propulsion technology that
        six decades ago, as part of the 1958   from signing to entry into force, for   the readout of the AUKUS Joint   would involve the transfer of HEU.
        UK–US Mutual Defense Agreement.   analysts, is reflective of the high pri-  Steering Group Meeting indicat-  On 26 November 2021, address-
            For facilitating the sharing of this   ority the three governments attached   ed the fast-tracking of efforts in the   ing the International Atomic Energy
        critical technology under AUKUS,   to implementing AUKUS. On 19     working groups of hypersonics and   Agency (IAEA), Chinese Ambassa-
        a legally binding tripartite agree-  February 2022, Foreign Ministers of   cyber technologies. In the last week   dor Wang Qun described AUKUS
        ment known as the Exchange of Na-  AUKUS  countries  met  for  the  first   of August, Australia’s Defense Minis-  as a major violation of the nuclear
        val Nuclear Propulsion Information   time in person on the sidelines of the   ter, Richard Marles, visited the UK.   non-proliferation treaty (NPT). He
        Agreement (ENNPIA) was signed     Munich Security Conference and re-  During his visit, he participated in the   accused the AUKUS nations of show-
        in Canberra on 22 November 2021.   viewed the progress.             commissioning of the Royal Navy’s   ing double standards regarding nucle-
        Since  then,  significant  progress  has   On 7 March 2022, then Austra-  fifth Astute Class SSN HMS Anson.   ar proliferation by pointing out their
        been made in erecting the governing   lian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison,   Marles announced that Austra-  current opposition to Iran’s nuclear
        framework for facilitating the manu-  announced an AUD 10 billion plan   lian submariners would receive train-  programme and their historic oppo-
        facture of eight SSNs and other ad-  for the construction of new subma-  ing aboard the Astute Class SSNs.   sition to Canada’s SSN programme
        vanced capabilities. At the same time,   rine bases for the SSNs acquired   Commemorating one year since   during the 1980s.
        however, AUKUS is confronted with   through AUKUS.                  the announcement of AUKUS, a          On 6 June 2022, Ambassador
        many challenges on the horizon. This   The bases are likely to be locat-  Joint Statement was issued on 23   Qun once again in his address to the
        Brief makes an assessment of the de-  ed on the eastern coast of Australia   September  2022.  While  reaffirming   Continued at next page... >>

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