Indo-Pacific politics has once again come into the limelight with a historic security-centric pact between the USA, the UK, and Australia.
The agreement, named AUKUS, is a mutual collaboration of the three countries, which can raise tensions in the already troubled region, as China expressed its concerns.
The pact will enable Australia to get access to US cutting-edge technology of nuclear-powered submarines, helping Australia to be one step closer to obtain nuclear weapons.
These submarines can stay underwater for months, with the capability of launching missiles to far-flung areas.
Although Australia has clarified its ambitions of not getting nuclear missiles, the AUKUS ambitions are definitely questioning, to say the least.
As a result, the alliance can initiate a power struggle and arms race between stakeholders willing to spend every single penny to defend their sovereignty.
Giving nuclear-powered technology to Australia will also dilute the US nuclear non-proliferation promises, helping the likes of Iran and South Korea to expand their already running nuclear programs.
AUKUS: The Beginning of Yet Another US-China Tension
AUKUS, an alliance named after the initials of all the three participating countries, is promising to change Indo-Pacific politics to a considerable extent.
The strategic partnership is expected to cause a paucity of non-proliferation regimes. As China sounded alarms over the pact, it has portrayed its concerns that any such partnership can obstruct the efforts of peace.
US President Joe Biden and the UK and Australian Prime Ministers did a virtual press conference, yet none of them directly mentioned China.
However, the UK defense secretary claimed that China is intensifying its military spending.
China’s ongoing ambitions in the South China Sea have been a matter of concern for stakeholders in the western power corridors.
Being an ally of the United States, Australia can try to intrude into the waters of the South China Sea with its nuclear submarines, a measure that has the capability to trigger an armed conflict.
The US has often envisioned the freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, a doctrine that China defies vehemently.
Any such measure by Australia can bring the AUKUS alliance and China face-to-face. With this alliance would also come the mendacious propaganda of various states that Australia is trying to intrude on their liberty.
As Russia also lies in the same region and is inbound with the United States with many peace and non-proliferation treaties, AUKUS can also impact the already strained relations of the two cold war foes.
It is pertinent to note that nuclear-powered submarine technology is also possessed by France, India, China, Russia, the UK, and the USA.
In its bid to settle scores, China can also enact a counter-alliance, thus diffusing the same technologies to the countries belonging to the anti-US power bloc.
The Quest for Power in the Indo-Pacific Region is Ongoing; AUKUS will Further Intensify It
The evolving geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific region has badly intertwined nation-states into a quest for power and alliances.
AUKUS is not the first one of its types, and probably not the last one. The US is busy flouting Chinese clout through various teams, including QUAD and the Five Eyes group.
Both of these alliances put the UK, France, India, Australia, and New Zealand in the US bloc. Nonetheless, this sophomoric ambition of furthering the arms race is not going to end in the contemporary world. It is an undeniable and endless cycle of distrust and pursuit of hegemony that will obstruct the peace efforts.
The post-World War II era is characterized by the rising international institutions and their motives of not propagating hard power anymore.
However, alliances like AUKUS make the rebirth of the doctrine of realism possible, which was severely dented by the fall of Kabul to the Taliban.
The AUKUS military-strategic partnership also seems to be the US effort in its post-Afghan war withdrawal.
While the US has had an active military presence in South Asia since the onset of the current century, the post-war era demands an alternative strategy of the USA.
This motive of the United States will be materialized by the formation of AUKUS.