AUKUS deal: India, Japan to not be included, US clarifies
The United States has ruled out the possibility of adding India or Japan to the new trilateral security alliance between the US, the United Kingdom, and Australia, known as AUKUS. In a press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki made it clear that it is unlikely that any other country would make it to the new alliance. Here are more details.
Responding to a question if countries like India and Japan would be made part of the new security alliance, Psaki said in a lighter note, "AUKUS? What would it become? JAUKUS? JAIAUKUS?" "The announcement of AUKUS last week was not meant to be an indication...that there is no one else who will be involved in security in the Indo-Pacific," she continued.
The formation of this trilateral security alliance, AUKUS, was announced jointly by US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on September 15. AUKUS is considered an effort by the US to counter China in the Indo-Pacific. Under this security alliance, Australia would get a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines for the first time.
The formation of AUKUS has sparked a sharp reaction from China and said that such an exclusive grouping has no future. It also criticized the alliance, saying it would gravely undermine regional stability and aggravate the arms race and hurt international non-proliferation efforts. "People in the Asia-Pacific region need growth and employment, not submarines and gunpowder," China's foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian had said.
Meanwhile, the formation of AUKUS has also irked France, an old European ally of the US. Expressing its displeasure, France said it had been "stabbed in the back." France has recalled its ambassador to the US and Australia after the AUKUS deal was announced. France has also lost a lucrative contract to build conventional submarines for Australia, according to reports.
Separately, the US is putting efforts to mend its ties with France. President Biden spoke to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday to smooth tensions. The two leaders agreed that "the situation would have benefitted from open consultations among allies on matters of strategic interest to France." It was also announced that France's Ambassador to the US would return to Washington next week.