Australian nuclear subs not for ‘imminent attack’ or ‘regime change’, envoy promises — Analysis

The nuclear submarines at the center of the row between Canberra and Paris will be used to “project power” into the Indo-Pacific region but not launch an “imminent” attack against anyone, Australia’s ambassador to the US has said.

Although the AUKUS agreement is still years away, Australia already has plans for how the submarines will be used.

Speaking at the Hudson Institute, a conservative Washington-based think tank, Australia’s Ambassador to US Arthur Sinodinos said the submarine project, as well as creation of AUKUS itself, came in response to changing security situation in the region.

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“We want to be able to, in these deteriorating strategic circumstances, be able to project our power further up, rather than taking an approach that all our defense has to be a defense of the mainland,”Sinodinos said, adding that powers like China need to realize this “cannot just throw [their] weight around”In dispute with smaller nations

Australia will benefit from a modern submarine fleet to help it break away from the status quo. “able to shape the security environment in which we operate in the Indo-Pacific.”

“The challenge for us in the region today is not to sit back and be the passive recipient of whatever may be happening, but seeking to shape events to deter potential adversarial actions,” Sinodinos said. Once the submarines are completed, however, Australia will not launch an immediate attack on anyone or seek to overthrow governments in China or elsewhere, he stressed.

This is not about saying that there’s going to be an imminent attack… It’s about acknowledging that circumstances have changed.

“This is not about us seeking to regime change or anything like that. We just want that respect for our sovereignty,” Sinodinos added.

The new military pact bringing together the US, the UK and Australia – dubbed AUKUS – was announced in mid-September. The agreement contained one of the following provisions: London and Washington would collaborate with Canberra on nuclear propulsion technology, and they would also build a fleet conventionally arm submarines.

Australia ended its $90 million diesel-electric submarine deal with France under the new plan. This caused a scandal that prompted France to recall its Ambassador from the US and continue trade recriminations against Australia.

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