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AUKUS Deal Turns Two: Leaders Underscore Commitment to Regional Stability, Military and Industrial Might

Anthony Albanese joined US president Joe Biden and UK prime minister Rishi Sunak to recap 24 months of military cooperation on advanced capabilities and celebrate the gains made in Australia’s acquisition of conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs).

From the graduation of Australian military personnel from the US nuclear power school in July to the completion of the first SSN port visit to Australia by the USS North Carolina in August, the AUKUS leaders said, the three nations continued to deliver on pact goals.

“In March 2023, we stood together in San Diego and announced the pathway to deliver on this commitment — an ambitious plan that will strengthen our combined military capabilities, boost our industrial capacity, and enhance our ability to deter aggression in the Indo-Pacific,” a statement read.

“We continue to make progress across our current capability development programs, including holding the first demonstration of AUKUS artificial intelligence and autonomous capabilities in the United Kingdom.

“As our work progresses on these and other critical defense and security capabilities, we will seek opportunities to engage allies and close partners,” they said.

The Australian, US and UK leaders also outlined their “open and transparent” engagement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), welcoming bilateral negotiations with the agency towards an arrangement pursuant to Article 14 of Australia’s comprehensive safeguards agreement.

“We …. remain committed to an approach that sets the highest non-proliferation standard,” they said.

Pledges two years ago to foster deeper integration of AUKUS scientists, industrial bases, and supply chains had advanced, Albanese, Biden and Sunak added, with the launch of an “ambitious proposal to streamline” defence collaboration and improving efforts to protect sensitive security technologies.

“We will act with purpose to develop and produce the capabilities that will matter most in the future; our plans to modernise defense trade set in place a foundation on which we will build those capabilities,” the leaders said in the statement released on Friday.

“As democracies, our legislatures have an important role to play to oversee and enable our progress.

“We are committed to working with them, and look forward to historic action that will empower AUKUS’s success, including authorising the necessary legislation to implement our submarine cooperation and modernise our defense trade systems while strengthening our ability to protect critical technologies.”

Work done under the AUKUS pact committed to supporting a secure and stable, free and open Indo-Pacific region. All three nations had a long history of working together and with other partners to uphold the rules-based international order, the rule of law and human rights, the leaders added.

“As we mark the second anniversary of AUKUS, we recommit ourselves to these values and look forward to continued progress as our nations stand together to help sustain peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and around the world,” they said.

Source : TheMandarin