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USA-Australia submarine deal results a rift with France

  Of late a multibillion-dollar Submarine deal was signed between the USA and Australia. It has a global political impact, resulted in one of their long-time associates, France, reeling with the feelings of betrayal.

According to France, it was a stab in the back, as their defense industry took a major hit. The development resulted in nullifying the US$40 billion French submarine deal with Australia. The French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian stated that the participating countries were disloyal, with a major breach of trust with France.

The road to this incident began with the formation of AUKUS - a strategic partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. It is primarily an anti-China alliance with targeted goals. The submarine agreement with the USA was a part of that, which cancelled the proposed French submarine deal. But the USA has accepted that they have kept France in dark about the deal with Australia for long.

Quite seriously, Paris is taking prompt political actions to voice their displeasure. France has called off the ambassadors to the USA and Australia for emergency discussion recently, which is quite an unparalleled move. They are dissatisfied with the UK, too, as they are a part of the AUKUS. Consequently, the French defense minister has cancelled scheduled meetings with Ben Wallace, the UK Defence Secretary.

However, the controversy didn’t stop the USA from going ahead in its strategic partnership with Australia. They are expanding the interoperability between the forces of the two nations as the US Air Force will be stationed in Australia too.

The long-term impact of these steps is to be considered in detail. While the USA takes the Chinese as the major threat now, this close partnership with Australia will help them counter the Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific region quite tactfully. With a series of working bases in Australia, it will be easier to monitor any development and provide prompt counter-measures on any sudden developments and acts of aggression.

However, it all came at a high cost for both the USA and Australia. France is a powerful ally, not only in Europe but globally as far as the defense industry is considered. While they wanted to be part of the USA’s anti-China axis for long, this recent development may change their view. It has already an impact on the positive relationship between the countries.

While AUKUS is a group that focuses on steps against Chinese aggression, there are other groups with similar goals like QUAD and ASEAN. This development has positive sides for countries like India as it will counter the progress of China in the South China Sea, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. It might be costly if this development results in a permanent rift with France.

The US submarines will be nuclear-powered, instead of traditional diesel powered French submarines – this can be another worrying aspect of the deal. As it will be energy-efficient, it will go against the 1970 nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Australia is unlikely to weaponize the supplied nuclear fuel though. There are several other countries that can exploit this as an example to deal with weapon-grade nuclear fuel exchange, leading to a palpitating political scenario worldwide.

China has already expressed its support to France. North Korea has also threatened the US over the submarine deal, mentioning that they would take necessary counter-measures if they find the deal to violate North Korean security in any way. Without a shred of doubt, it can be believed that the deal and the AUKUS alliance will surely change the direction of global politics in the coming decades.
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