The tripartite agreement, known by the acronym AUKUS, was announced in September 2021. According to many, the aim is to balance China’s growing military presence in the Indo-Pacific region, where Canada has major interests. Economy.
The agreement received increased attention when the United States and the United Kingdom announced their intention to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.
However, Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) Vice Admiral Bob Ochterlony told The Canadian Press that the deal is about more than that.
Underwater nuclear technology has been around for some time now, so sharing it isn’t all that important. This is especially true when talking about advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning or quantum machine learning. These areas are changing rapidly.
” We need to be part of these discussions. Why are we not included? Where does resistance come from? Is this our policy? Are we going to invest? These are worrisome questions. »
Mystery in Ottawa
The federal government has never explained why Canada is not part of AUKUS. We don’t even know if he was invited to sign this contract. Defense Minister Anita Anand’s office again avoided answering that question last week.
Ms. Anand’s spokesman, Daniel Minden, wanted to talk about Canada’s participation in Five Eyes, an alliance that brings together the intelligence services of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States — to NATO and NORAD. .
We continue to work with our closest partners to keep Canadians safe through Five Eyes and our bilateral partnershipMr. Minden wrote in an email.
The Australian High Commission and the US Embassy have referred questions to officials in their respective capitals. The UK High Commission did not respond.
For some experts, Canada’s absence from the deal could be explained by the perception that it may not be close enough with China.
In recent months, Canada has hardened its stance toward Beijing. He closed the door on Chinese telecom giant Huawei to develop the country’s 5G network, imposed new restrictions on foreign ownership of key minerals and announced a new Indo-Pacific strategy.
Vice Admiral Ochterlony sings the praises of this new strategy, which includes stationing more warships and other military assets in the region and greater military cooperation with various countries.
” This strategy and the ban on Chinese companies investing in the North are steps in the right direction for Canada. We acknowledge the challenges we face. »
Pressures on Canada
U.S. officials have long warned that Canada will be barred from sharing sensitive intelligence unless Ottawa takes a stronger stance against China. This was particularly the case during the Donald Trump administration and the Canadian slowdown regarding the 5G network.
I work with our Five Eyes partners. Vice Admiral Ochterlony underscores, “I don’t see any change in information sharing.” This is a good sign.
The senior official said he was aware of the political dimension to the absence of Canadians among AUKUS. He admits that he doesn’t have to express his concern about this.
It is not my role, but you must face the truth: what is my livelihood? I represent the operational side of the armed forces. So do I care? Should I communicate with our closest allies? Yes! Absolutely. This is important in technology transfers. Canada should be a part of it.