Hello defence lovers! Recently we have seen a lot of tension among France, the USA, and Australia over the formation of AUKUS. In this article, we are going to understand what is AUKUS? what it has got to do with submarines? why France is angry at the USA and Australia? Why France has called back its ambassadors from these countries? We will also analyse why this situation is beneficial for India both from the American and French end. We will also try to understand why the formation of AUKUS is Joe Biden’s second blunder after Afghanistan.
What Is AUKUS?
AUKUS stands for Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. It is a military alliance between these three nations which has the primary aim of providing Australia with nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN). The alliance will also focus on cyber security. cyber warfare and artificial alliance. The primary goal of this alliance is to make Australia strong enough to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region.
Why Is France Angry With AUKUS?
French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the AUKUS deal a “stab in the back”
Right now France is feeling betrayed by the US, Australia and UK. This is the worst thing Joe Biden could have done to America’s oldest ally. The Australian navy right from 2016 was negotiating with the French Naval Group for 12 conventionally powered versions of the Baracuda class SSN. The deal was estimated to be worth more than 50 billion dollars. For such a huge contract, the French Naval group had spent millions of dollars in demonstrations to the Australian Navy alone.
Australia has violated the ethics of these deals and without even cancelling the deal of Baracuda class submarines with France, entered the AUKUS alliance. The US has snatched France’s biggest ever defence contract. Allies don’t do this to each other. Especially to those allies who have helped them to gain independence. Angered by this move, France has recalled its ambassadors from Canberra and Washington. Recalling the ambassador signifies the end of all diplomatic ties. In the past there has been a lot of disputes between the US and France but France has never taken this step. Americans have once again proved that how unreliable allies they are.
Why This Situation Is Beneficial For India?
Now for the heart-broken France, the importance of India will increase by many folds. India is now France’s most important defence customer. Moreover, India and France have been reliable defence partners and allies of each other for decades. France sees India as the biggest market for its weapons now. The purchase of 36 additional rafales, 6 more Scorpene-class submarines under p75I and even 6 Baracuda class submarines for India’s SSN programme are in pipeline.
We will also see that India’s ties will strengthen with France in all other aspects including trade. The cooperation of the two nations will increase at all international organisations. The two countries agreed to strengthen the mutual partnership and promote “a truly multilateral international order,” after a dialogue between its Foreign ministers on 18th September.
Co-Development Of Jet Engines
The need of the hour for the Indian defence industry is an indigenous jet engine whose IP rights will be controlled by Indian stakeholders. India is already in dialogue with French Safran and British Rolls Royce for co-development of the jet engines. Earlier France had helped India by transferring the technology to build the Shakti engines which power all indigenous helicopters of India. Now, after this AUKUS a similar ToT can be expected for the Snechma M 88 engines which power the Rafale. Dimensionally it is very much similar to the GE f404 engines and thus M88 engines can replace GE engines with minor modifications.
India’s fighter jets for exports should be specifically be developed on the M 88 engines because if any Indian is selected over any American aircraft in any competition, the US will impose an embargo over the export of GE engines. The same story we have seen for Swedish fighters and Turkish helicopters.
Why Should China Be Worried?
As of now, China would be laughing at France and the US but in the long run, it has serious reasons to be worried. Australian Navy’s strength will exponentially increase with 12 American SSNs. Australia will become one of the largest operators of SSNs in the world. Australian SSNs can seriously challenge the Chinese Navy in the region. Australia was the weakest link in the Quad but now things are changing. A stronger Australia means a stronger Quad. Thus China should be concerned over AUKUS.
Though AUKUS has damaged US-Australia-France relations in the short term, it is going to be beneficial for the US, Australia and India in the long run. India will benefit the most from the situation as China will be contained, Australia will be stronger and France getting more closer to India.