Jaishankar Acknowledges India's Role In Blocking China's Move Against Australia-US-UK Submarine Deal At IAEA
India’s “deft and impactful” diplomacy was deeply appreciated by IAEA member states, particularly the AUKUS partners.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has acknowledged India’s role in defeating China’s attempt to pass a resolution against the AUKUS (Australia-United Kingdom-United States) submarine deal at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 30 September.
Under the AUKUS alliance, the US and the UK will supply nuclear-powered attack submarines or SSNs to Australia.
The deal, announced earlier this year, comes at a time when Australia’s relations with China have deteriorated sharply.
Speaking at a press conference alongside Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong earlier today (10 October), Jaishankar said, “On the AUKUS, look, the issue did come up for debate at the General Conference, and I think the IAEA Director General, who is a very, very seasoned and very well‑respected professional in that particular domain, is someone I know myself having worked in that field for many years as very well, I think he gave a very objective assessment of what the issue was all about”.
“I think we respected that and we urged other members to do so as well,” Jaishankar added, confirming India’s role in blocking China’s plan to target the deal with a resolution at the IAEA.
Why China Is Opposing AUKUS
When Australia receives the submarines under this deal, the Chinese will have to worry about eight more nuclear-powered submarines (say in the event of a crisis in the Taiwan Strait), possibly much more capable than what it can deploy currently and in the next few years.
For this reason, China has been raising questions about the deal. Over the last few weeks, it has repeatedly railed against the programme.
Beijing has argued that the AUKUS initiative violated the US and UK’s responsibilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
It also criticised the IAEA, saying the nuclear watchdog is overstepping its mandate after the agency argued that the NPT allows marine nuclear propulsion if required arrangements are made with it.
“The AUKUS partnership involves the illegal transfer of nuclear weapon materials, making it essentially an act of nuclear proliferation,” China has said about the deal in the recent past.
India Helped Block Anti-AUKUS Resolution
Beijing was forced to withdraw its anti-AUKUS resolution at the IAEA last month after it failed to receive majority support. Back then, news reports quoting source in the government had confirmed India’s role in defeating the Chinese move.
India is one of the 35 members on the board of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog IAEA, which also has Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Russia, Senegal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the UAE, the UK, the US and Vietnam.
“India took an objective view of the initiative, recognising the soundness of the technical evaluation by IAEA. The Indian Mission to the IAEA in Vienna worked closely with many IAEA member states in this regard,” various news reports quoted a source in the government as saying.
“India’s considered role helped many smaller countries take a clear stand on the Chinese proposal. Realising that its resolution would not get majority support, China withdrew its draft resolution,” the source added.
The sources said India’s “deft and impactful” diplomacy was deeply appreciated by IAEA member states, particularly the AUKUS partners.
Also Read: Explained: Australia’s Pact With US-UK Against China, Its Nuclear-Powered Submarines Plan And What It Means For India And QUAD
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