Australia and the United Kingdom: an Indo-Pacific security agenda for a revitalised partnership

Rory Medcalf, Veerle Nouwens

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


    It is a truth universally acknowledged that two middle powers in possession of substantial capabilities, shared values and convergent interests will have much to gain from closer security cooperation. Australia and the United Kingdom (UK) are renewing their partnership for the competitive setting of the 21st century, especially the systemic challenge by authoritarian powers to a liberal international order. This reimagined alignment was underscored by the announcement in September 2021 of AUKUS: their partnership with the United States on nuclear-powered submarines and other advanced technologies. The UK and Australia are not formal allies, and face differences as well as similarities in security priorities. Still, their combined strategic weight is considerable. They have respectively the world’s 5th and 13th largest economies, and 5th and 12th largest defence budgets, with exceptional intelligence and cyber capabilities. These advantages are augmented by strong records in mobilising diplomatic coalitions for the international common good, plus distinct strengths in education, innovation, political institutions and resilience. Differences in their economies and geographies are more a point of complementarity (leveraged in the new Free Trade Agreement) than a source of weakness or indifference. Enhanced Australia-UK partnership is thus a lot more than political talk or alleged Anglosphere nostalgia. It makes sense, beyond even the bonds of history, kindred political systems, a tapestry of personal connections and revitalised economic links.
    Original languageEnglish
    Commissioning bodyNational Security College (NSC), Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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