AUKUS nations must dispel the notion the pact is a “cosy, anglophone club” to counter authoritarian nations’ growing technological edge, the UK’s former national security adviser says.
Australia, the US and the UK have to do more to persuade other nations that the technology-sharing alliance is also in their interests, Sir Stephen Lovegrove told the Sydney Dialogue forum on Tuesday.
“This is about three nations in pillar one, and potentially many more than three nations in pillar two, collaborating for the greater good, for the safety and security of, in particular, the Indo-Pacific,” he said.
Sir Stephen suggested there is a body of tacit support for AUKUS in the region but governments feel unable to come out and express that support publicly.
Collaboration with other nations should be pursued to help rebalance power in favour of liberal democracies, as authoritarian regimes use their greater ability to mobilise state resources to develop a technological edge.
“It is inconceivable to me that, for instance, Russia and China are going to be prepared to share technologies and information in the way that our three nations are prepared to do so,” Sir Stephen said.
“There’s an enormous benefit to us if we can manage to pull together those installed bases of expertise, knowledge, experience, and skill, which are not going to be available to some of our strategic competitors.”
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles earlier told the forum it is Australia’s “great national challenge” to climb up the technological ladder.
He urged Australia to develop its economy beyond relying on primary industries.
Australia ranks 91st between Kenya and Namibia on the Harvard Index of Technological Complexity, which assesses the technological knowledge and complexity of an economy.
Pillar two of AUKUS, which focuses on developing emerging technologies like hypersonics and artificial intelligence, is central to boosting the nation’s ability to commercialise science and infuse it into the economy, Mr Marles said.
“The history of human contest is ultimately a history of technological competition, and we must be at the forefront of that.”
Source : The West Australian