mandag 20. september 2021

AUKUS and Submarines: The Fallout for France

Two weeks ago, France and Australia inaugurated their first 2+2 ministerial dialogue. This strategic partnership was based on a common analysis of the dangers weighing on the Indo-Pacific with an increasingly aggressive China in the maritime domain. This shared vision, which reflects France’s commitment in Asia, had been developed since 2016 around the supply of 12 French conventional submarines to Australia – at the time, the Australians rejected any idea of nuclear propulsion – but went far beyond that sole industrial interest.

In 2018, it was in Australia that French President Emmanuel Macron gave a decisive impetus to the French Indo-Pacific strategy in a famous Garden Island speech where he defined an “Indo-Pacific axis” formed by France, India, and Australia to counterbalance Chinese hegemonic ambitions. This Indo-Pacific vision was inclusive and cooperative, seeking to bring together middle powers worried by the unilateralism of the Trump administration then in power in the United States.