Rishi Sunak, Joe Biden, Anthony Albanese to meet in San Diego to finalise AUKUS deal

Rishi Sunak will have meetings on March 12 and March 13 with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and U.S. President Joe Biden

March 12, 2023 02:44 pm | Updated 08:53 pm IST - LONDON

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, U.S. President Joe Biden and Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. File

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, U.S. President Joe Biden and Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. File | Photo Credit: AP/PTI

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is heading to San Diego on March 12, 2023 to finalise the AUKUS deal — a trilateral security partnership between Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. that will provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia. The partnership was announced in September 2021 as part of the U.S. and U.K.’s strategies to more deeply with the Indo-Pacific, largely to counter Beijing’s assertiveness in the region, including what Canberra has described as Beijing’s “ economic coercion “ .

“I am travelling to the United States today to launch the next stage of the AUKUS nuclear submarine programme, a project which is binding ties to our closest allies and delivering security, new technology and economic advantage at home,” Mr Sunak said in a statement , prior to his departure.

What the AUKUS military pact means for India and the Quad | In Focus podcast

Mr Sunak will have meetings on March 12 and March 13 with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and U.S. President Joe Biden . Mr Albanese, who has just wrapped up a visit to India, announced on Twitter that he had arrived in the U.S. along with Australia’s Navy chief, Mark Hammond. The White House said Mr Biden will fly to San Diego on Monday and will hold bilateral talks with Mr Albanese and Mr Sunak, in addition to AUKUS discussions.

Currently only six countries have nuclear-fuelled submarines — India, the U.S., the U.K, France, Russia and China. Australia, whose fleet consists of six diesel-powered Collins-class submarines will be the seventh, once the AUKUS fleet is deployed. Canberra could acquire up to five Virginia-class submarines from the U.S., in the 2030s, under AUKUS, according to a Reuters report. It would also work with the U.K. to design a new generation of submarines , using American technology. These would likely not be ready until the 2040s.

Also read:The big deal behind the ruckus over AUKUS

Mr Sunak’s trip to the west coast of the U.S. comes as the U.K. prepares to release its updated Integrated Review, a comprehensive statement about its security and foreign policy , which will be released on March 13, 2023.

“The Integrated Review Refresh will address the grave risks from Putin’s Russia, the increasingly concerning behaviour of the Chinese Communist Party and hybrid threats to our economy and energy security,” Downing Street said on Sunday.

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