Hello defence lovers! In a previous article, we have already discussed what AUKUS is and what implications it will have on India. But have you ever wondered why the USA is extending its nuclear submarine attack submarine technology to Australia but not to its other allies in Indo Pacific like India, Japan or South Korea? In this article, we are going to discuss the specific reasons why Australia is America’s top priority for extending its Nuclear Submarine technology.
India As An Ally: Joe Biden Vs Donald Trump
American Foreign policy is quite unreliable. It may experience a complete 180 degrees U-turn with the change of American President. During Donald Trump’s tenure, it appeared that India is going to be America’s top priority for countering China. Under his tenure, historic agreements like the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) were made. But during Joe Biden’s tenure, we are witnessing one after another foreign policy blunders. In such a situation with the AUKUS deal, it appears that America’s focus from India has shifted to Australia. Though America has valid reasons to do so. Let us understand in much more detail.
Why Not India?
America will never transfer critical technologies like Nuclear Submarine technology or Jet engine technology to India. With India’s growing military, economic and political power, it can be the next China for America. Out of the four members of Quad, India is the strongest partner after America. Perhaps India will be the next military superpower in the coming few decades. India is already manufacturing critical defence technologies indigenously. India is already the fourth most powerful nation in the world (according to the Global firepower index). The countries which are more powerful than India according to this index are Russia, China and the US itself. In such a situation America will never want India to become so strong that it will challenge American dominance one day. Moreover, the US knows how capable Indian scientists are as America has already gained very much from the greatest Indian minds. It’s India’s fault that it has not been able to stop the Brain drain.
In quad India is the only other country that is armed with nuclear power and already indigenously developed nuclear submarines. Allegedly western powers tried stopping India from developing nuclear submarines but failed. Countless Indian scientists and engineers working on Indian nuclear submarines have died mysteriously over the last few years. It is needless to say that who might be behind these killings which looks like natural deaths. Perhaps the same agency is responsible which killed Dr Homi Jahangir Bhabha, the father of India’s nuclear programme.
Let us keep conspiracy theory apart for a while and focus on another crucial aspect. Our non-aligned balanced foreign policy might be confusing for America. On the one hand, we are cooperating in organisations like Quad to counter China. On the other hand, we are also part of SCO and BRICS which contains both Russia and China. To this day, Russia is one of our most reliable allies. India participates in large scale military exercises with Russia at regular intervals. Despite threats of US sanctions we are still purchasing S400. India is a sovereign country and will act in the Indian interest only, not in the American interest. That is the main reason why the US is focusing on AUKUS and providing Australia with nuclear submarines, not Inda. It is natural that America won’t put all its eggs in one basket. We don’t need American SSNs though, we are capable enough to manufacture them indigenously.
Why Not Japan?
Unlike Australia Japan already has one of the strongest navies in the region, Japan also has a strong manufacturing base. It has already manufactured some of the most advanced conventional submarines (SSKs) indigenously. It operates 12 Soryu, 9 Oyashio class and 1Tagei class SSK. In such a situation there is no need to transfer Nuclear Submarines to Japan. Moreover, Japan is a self-reliant country. It will not spend such a huge amount on procuring submarines from America where it can manufacture them indigenously.
Why Not South Korea?
Like Japan Soth Korea also operates a strong fleet of conventional submarines. The South Korean Navy operates 18 SSKs. Most of these are indigenously developed and built. Soth Korea is one of the largest exporters of Submarines. It is also developing critical military technology like stealth fighter jets indigenously. It is highly unlikely that South Korea will spend billions of dollars to acquired American nuclear submarines. Both for Japan and South Korea SSKs are enough as their main adversary China is close to their territorial waters.
Among the above-mentioned countries, Australia is the only country that completely relies on America for purchasing its defence equipment. Australia lacks a defence manufacturing ecosystem in the country. Thus it depends on imports. Moreover, unlike India, Australia is aligned towards the west and also comes under the British crown. It belongs to the club of Anglo Saxian countries. Perhaps the AUKUS deal is somewhat racist in nature. Australia has never worked on any nuclear project, neither has any intent to do so in future. It is much safer to transfer weapons-grade uranium to Australia as it lacks the scientific expertise to make weapons out of it.
Hence due to the above-mentioned reasons and Australia’s will to spend almost 50 billion dollars to acquire submarines makes it a perfect candidate for AUKUS.