Daily Mail

Rishi to sign Australian subs deal

- From Political Editor in San Diego

A MUlti-million-pound deal to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines could be signed by the Prime Minister today.

At a landmark summit in San Diego, rishi Sunak will join Joe Biden and Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese to agree a pact designed to help Australia help the West counter the threat posed by china in the indo-Pacific.

the deal, which is set to create thousands of jobs in the UK in the coming years, is the centrepiec­e of a defence pact agreed by the countries in 2021. the socalled Aukus agreement will see the UK and US supply nuclear technology to Australia for the first time, and replaces a deal Australia had already signed to buy diesel-powered submarines from France.

the pact enraged emmanuel Macron and sparked warnings from china.

it was initially thought that Australia would buy US subs, with the UK supplying some reactor technology. But the UK now looks set to supply submarines directly to Australia following an agreement said to have left Mr Sunak ‘buzzing’. the Australian navy will initially buy five Virginia-class subs from the US.

But Britain is then expected to work with canberra on an updated design of the Astute class submarine.

All three countries will use the same missile and defence systems. Australia is already a key ally in the indo-Pacific, and the supply of nuclear-powered subs, which can stay underwater for longer, will give it vital new capabiliti­es.

the three-way alliance with the US leaves Britain as a leading player in a region where europe has sometimes struggled for influence. A Downing Street spokesman said the Aukus deal was ‘the most significan­t multilater­al defence capability endeavour the world has seen in generation­s’.

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