“ENNPIA with our AUKUS partners is another important step in Australia’s pursuit of conventionally armed, nuclear-powered submarines,” said the Australian Defence Ministry in a statement.
According to Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton, the new agreement would allow the United States and the United Kingdom to share critical and classified navy nuclear propulsion information with a third country for the first time.
“This agreement will support Australia in completing the 18 months of an intensive and comprehensive examination of the requirements underpinning the delivery of nuclear-powered submarines,” said Dutton.
U.S. President Joe Biden signed a memorandum on Friday that approved the arrangement.
“The United Kingdom and the United States will be able to share naval nuclear propulsion information with Australia, which they cannot with any other country, in the determination of the optimal pathway to acquire nuclear-powered submarines for operation by the Royal Australian Navy,” he added.
Under the agreement terms, the UK and the US will also offer Australian soldiers access to British and American counterparts for training and study.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison praised the accord, saying his nation had finally gotten what it wanted for a long time.
“Now, this is not a defence alliance or security pact, as I’ve made clear on numerous occasions. Australia wilfully and meet all of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, as I’ve made very clear to many leaders around the world, as we’ve discussed this issue in recent weeks,” Morrison told reporters during a news conference in Canberra.
He described the accord as a significant step forward for his country’s future.
In September of this year, Australia joined the AUKUS trilateral security alliance with the United States and the United Kingdom to safeguard the Indo-Pacific region against Chinese encroachment. It backed out of a multibillion-dollar submarine contract with France.
The action infuriated Paris, and French President Emmanuel Macron summoned the country’s ambassador from Canberra. The envoy returned to Australia in October. On the other hand, Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian stated that the ambassador was instructed to evaluate relations.