Japan and India may be invited by the UK to join ‘NATO 2.0’
LONDON, UK — Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the British Parliament’s defense committee, has called for Japan and India to be included in the AUKUS defense cooperation, which sees the transfer of technology for Australia’s nuclear submarines from the UK and the US.
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Conservative MP Ellwood advocated expanding the agreement to the Indo-Pacific region, while proposing the creation of a NATO-like body to coordinate defense cooperation, Skynews Australia reported.
The statement comes ahead of talks between Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defense Minister Richard Marles with their British and American counterparts next week.
The agreement, which aims to enable Australia to build a nuclear submarine fleet with the transfer of technology from the US and the UK, was signed on 16 September 2021. Although China was not mentioned in the agreement, the three countries’ emphasis on “growing regional security concerns’ has led to comments that the cooperation is a pact aimed at balancing Beijing’s military power in the region.
China reacted to the agreement by stressing that the alliance would harm regional peace and stability as well as international non-proliferation efforts.
The Beijing administration has drawn attention to the transfer of nuclear technology and materials to Australia, which does not have nuclear weapons, and has demanded that it be inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] under the nuclear proliferation regime.
Agreement with Naval Group
In 2016, Australia signed a $40 billion deal with a French naval group to build new submarines to replace the aging Collins-class submarines.
This agreement has also been described as the largest defense agreement signed by France in its history. However, many problems arose in the agreement. Many of Canberra’s wishes were not fulfilled. One of these was the domestic production of parts to be used in submarines.
French company Naval Group, which won the tender in which it competed with Japan and Germany 5 years ago, intended to produce a total of 12 new-generation submarines for Australia. The first submarine was to be delivered in 2030.
However, Australia surprisingly canceled the agreement in September 2021 and announced that the submarines in question would be manufactured by the AUKUS countries.
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