The 2022 Australia-UK Ministerial (AUKMIN) consultation was held in Sydney and saw the Foreign Affairs and Defence ministers of both countries agree widely on a range of strategic topics. The AUKMIN joint media statement issued by the four ministers re-emphasised UK and Australian commitment to AUKUS, the Australia-UK-US agreement announced in September 2021.
They recognised that the operational effectiveness of the bilateral Australia-UK relationship is underpinned by the strength of their cooperation on science, technology, strategic capabilities, and defence industrial base collaboration. To support this, they agreed to convene a fourth Australia-UK Defence Industry Dialogue, though without stating a date.
The statement added: “Further trilateral collaboration will enhance our joint capabilities and interoperability with a focus on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities.”
It also re-affirmed the participants’ commitment to the acquisition by Australia of conventionally armed nuclear-powered submarines “and to bring the capability into service at the earliest possible date,” and welcomed the signing late last year of the agreement on the Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information.
The UK will deploy two offshore patrol vessels, HM Ships Spey and Tamar, to the Indo-Pacific on a permanent basis. Australia will support the deployment which will re-establish a persistent UK Indo-Pacific presence and strengthen the UK’s defence cooperation with Indo-Pacific partners. Ministers also agreed to increase coordination and planning for combined activities between the Australian Defence Forces and the British Armed Forces in the Indo-Pacific.
The ministers noted the strength of the defence relationship between Australia and the UK, which is underpinned by a formal Military Cooperation Framework. The Ministers have agreed to improve cooperation in the area of cyber and cyber training. This included agreeing to further exchanges of specialist cyber personnel and increasing bilateral participation in one another’s respective cyber exercises.