The creation of AUKUS – the new security alliance between the US, United Kingdom (UK), and Australia – in September 2021 marked a milestone in the Indo-Pacific geopolitical landscape. It showed continued resilience of the Anglosphere partnerships and underlined their common vision for the region.
Crucially, the AUKUS agreement has had a significant impact on two structures: the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) – comprising the US, Australia, India, and Japan – and the EU. Jagannath Panda (Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses) notes that, as the EU seeks to build its role in the Indo-Pacific, a crucial question remains of how the EU can navigate between the Quad and AUKUS to forward its own objectives in the region? He argues that the sudden emergence of the AUKUS alliance will encourage, and to an extent compel, the EU to reassess its own Indo-Pacific strategy.
The AUKUS pact disregarded, in Panda’s view, the EU attempts to contribute to regional stability, and thus has changed Europe’s perspective of the transatlantic partnership. It could even prompt a reassessment of its Indo-Pacific strategy in terms of how European powers can contribute to the maritime security and prosperity of the region. However, as the EU reinforces its strategic autonomy concept, it is unlikely to compromise its presence in the region.
This is the second of seven papers in the HCSS Guarding the Commons series, edited by Paul van Hooft and Tim Sweijs, and is part of the new HCSS “Europe in the Indo-Pacific Hub (EIPH)”. More papers will follow in the coming weeks.
Read the complete paper series here:
- Thucydides Lives in Asia: Power Transition Traps Are Real, by Patrick Porter (University of Birmingham)
- Between AUKUS and the Quad: Scaling European Interest in the Indo-Pacific, by Jagannath Panda (Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses)
- European Engagement in the Maritime Security in Indo-Pacific: a Japanese Perspective, by Yuki Tatsumi (The Stimson Center)
- Getting Real about the Indo-Pacific: Redefining European Approach to Maritime Security, by Frédéric Grare (European Council on Foreign Affairs – ECFR) and Mélissa Levaillant (Institute of Higher National Defence Studies)
- Multilateralizing Maritime Cooperation in East Asia: South Korea’s Cautious but Delayed Response, by Kuyoun Chung (Kangwon National University)
- It started with a ship… What role for Germany in the Indo Pacific’s security architecture?, by Johannes Peters (Head of Center for Maritime Strategy & Security at the Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University (ISPK))
- Multilateralizing Maritime Security in the Indo-Pacific: How Europe can contribute to regional deterrence, by Stephan Frühling (Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University)