The United States has denied adding India or Japan to the recently created Indo-Pacific security partnership popular as AUKUS with Australia and the United Kingdom.
US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on September 15 announced the trilateral security alliance AUKUS under which Australia would get a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.
“The announcement of AUKUS last week was not meant to be an indication, and I think this is the message the President also sent to (French President Emmanuel) Macron, that there is no one else who will be involved in security in the Indo-Pacific,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference on Wednesday, reported PTI.
Criticising its exclusion from the alliance, France had said it reflects a lack of coherence when common challenges are being faced in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Of course, it’s an important topic in conversations with the French, with a range of countries who have a direct interest in the region,” she said as quoted by the report.
Psaki was responding to a question if countries like India and Japan whose leaders would be in town this week for the QUAD Summit would be made part of the security alliance.
The QUAD comprises India, the US, Japan and Australia. The US is hosting the in-person QUAD summit in Washington tomorrow.
“On Friday you’ll have the Australians there (for the QUAD summit). But then you also have India and Japan. Would you envision for them a similar kind of military role that you’ve now defined for with the Australians?” a journalist questioned Psaki.
“AUKUS? What would it become? JAUKUS? JAIAUKUS?” Psaki said in lighter moments before giving an answer to the question.
Seen as an effort to counter China in the Indo-Pacific, the trilateral security alliance will allow the US and the UK to provide Australia with the technology to develop nuclear-powered submarines for the first time.
China has sharply criticised the trilateral alliance and said such grouping has no future and will gravely undermine regional stability and aggravate the arms race and hurt international non-proliferation efforts.