The 21st century is the “new space age”, where countries compete to dominate outer space. Many have already begun to show their dominance after establishing their military might on land, in the air and at sea.
Recently, Australia, one of the emerging powers in Oceania, announced a space command against China – an initiative to thwart the rise of the dragon in the Indo-Pacific.
As many countries join the club to counter China, the recent Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) grouping aims to give these countries an edge in managing common interests and threats in the Indo- Peaceful.
Recently, Australia, with the support of the United States, has made great strides in countering the supremacy that China is trying to establish in the region. Space is a new theater to reinforce the military footprints that have been ogled by many countries.
In a recent speech, Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said: “Space will undoubtedly become an area of greater military importance in this century. The space is becoming increasingly crowded and already contested, especially as the lines between competition and conflict become increasingly blurred due to gray area activities.
The Minister also claimed that Australia’s Space Command was “a clear counterpoint to China’s and Russia’s extraterrestrial military ambitions”. He also warned that China is also aiming to come up with technology, equipment and forces that will be deployed in space, cyber operations, naval and land and sea assets as autonomous vehicles.
Deepening Links between the United States and Australia
China, however, countered Australian ambitions by declaring that the latter was not ready to build a space force. China has pointed out that Australia lacks the technological capabilities to build a space force. But the real challenge for the Chinese is deepening ties between the United States and Australia.
Australia now has the support of the United States and with the cooperation of the United States, it can deploy satellite surveillance systems in its territory which will scan and collect information. The new AUKUS framework will allow Australia to gain US intelligence support, according to Beijing-based military expert Wei Dongxu.
Australia obtains its first nuclear-powered submarines through AUKUS and builds a new base to house not only its naval armaments, but also those of the United States and United Kingdom. He also announced his intention to expand his army by 30%.
However, that’s not all. Australia has also shown some resilience lately. Last year it was reported that Australia would start building its own guided missiles in conjunction with the United States.
For this reason, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently cited the “changing global environment” and announced that he would partner with an arms manufacturer to boost missile production, as this would also be a coup. boost in job creation and export opportunities.
Australia’s Growing Power
Australia is rapidly maneuvering to become a rising military power in the region and it has reason to do so.
Australia, which has long imported all key defense capabilities from its allies, is building a decoy rocket that would destroy incoming missiles.
Morrison also said he would initially spend A$1 billion ($761 million) on the plan as part of a major 10-year investment in defense and related industry.
Morrison was quoted as saying, “Creating our sovereign capability on Australian soil is essential to keeping Australians safe.”
The recent Covid-19 outbreak has been yet another warning sign for Australia against China. The two-year-old pandemic, which is still being fought against, had wreaked havoc on global supply chains. The threats posed by China were palpable for Australia and they have been trying to build their arsenal ever since.
Australia will also build a larger army that will focus on its backyard. It will build new long-range anti-ship missiles – a move seen as a significant change in its defense posture.
Australia is also part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) – or QUAD with the US, India and Japan. The main objective of this group is to thwart the domination that China is trying to establish in the Indo-Pacific as well as in Asia.
Australia’s emergence as a military power will be a headache for China because all this time it only had to worry about India and Japan. Now, however, he must politically and militarily have three fronts to defend.
Australia’s emergence as a military power will create more pressure on China as it plans to extend its tentacles to smaller countries in the region, such as Taiwan.