Australia’s AUKUS alliance will expand the United States’ presence in the Indo-Pacific region and act as an immediate deterrent against China’s growing assertiveness, says Sky News host Tom Connell.

The agreement will see Australia build nuclear-powered submarines using American and English technology alongside the acquisition of US Tomahawk missiles as well as additional armoury.

“It’s a big part of why Australia is partnering with the US: with France, it was about building submarines, with the US and UK, it’s about nuclear submarines to improve capability but also the rest of the tie in,” Mr Connell said.

“You heard Scott Morrison asked about an increased US presence in our region and whether this deal essentially locks that in; he indicated that could well be the case, that there will be more of a US presence here.

“And also the talk of missiles: if you’re talking about deterrent between now and when these submarines come online, today, this announcement actually bolsters the deterrent for the now, for the next 10 or 15 years.

“The missiles, if and when that path is taken, we are looking at something that is a better physical deterrent than submarines; submarines are more about regional power and tying in with the US.”

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