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Canberra had 'deep and grave concerns' over French submarines: Australian PM

·2-min read
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Canberra [Australia], September 19 (ANI): Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday said that Australia had deep and grave concerns about the French submarines and the French government would have known about it before the deal was called off last week.

France had recalled its ambassadors from Canberra and Washington after Australia pulled back from a multibillion-dollar deal to build French submarines.

France accused Australia of cancelling the French submarine deal in favour of American nuclear-powered vessels.

Morrison said that he raised issues with the French submarine deal several months ago.

"I think they would have had every reason to know that we had deep and grave concerns that the capability being delivered by the Attack Class submarine was not going to meet our strategic interests and we made very clear that we would be making a decision based on our strategic national interest," he told a news conference in Sydney, reports Japan Times

"I don't regret the decision to put Australia's national interest first. Never will," Morrison added.

Australia's Defence Minister Peter Dutton said he conveyed all his concerns about the French submarine deal to his French counterpart, Florence Parly and said "Need to act in our national interest".

"And given the changing circumstances in the Indo-Pacific, not just now but over the coming years, we had to make a decision that was in our national interest and that's exactly what we've done," he added.

Dutton said that American nuclear-power vessels did not require charging, while French ones did, making Australia choose the American submarines, reports Japan Times

On Wednesday, Australia, the UK and the US announced a defence partnership called AUKUS, with the initial task of US and UK backing of Australia's bid to acquire nuclear-propelled submarines.

The new defensive pact forced Canberra to give up on a $66 billion contract with France to develop 12 state-of-the-art conventionally powered attack submarines. (ANI)

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