(Ottawa) National Defense Minister Anita Anand does not deny that Canada is toying with the idea of joining the non-nuclear component of the AUKUS security pact, which includes three of its closest allies, the United States. , the United Kingdom and Australia.
Cautious, referring to notes written in both English and French, she did not go as far as New Zealand’s defense minister, who confirmed in March that Wellington was at the negotiating table.
“Canada is very interested in cooperation in the fields of AI [artificial intelligence], quantum computing and other advanced technologies related to defence,” she said at a press conference at the National Defense Headquarters on Monday.
“We are always looking for ways to collaborate on these issues with our closest defense allies,” added Minister Anand, who received her Polish counterpart Mariusz Błaszczak in Ottawa. However, she refused, three times, to say whether Canada has been invited to join the talks.
If Wellington joined the non-nuclear side of the treaty, Ottawa would be the only member of the “Five Eyes” security alliance to be excluded from the AUKUS pact, which aims to counterbalance China’s presence in the Indo region. -peaceful.
The Globe and Mail reported on Monday, on the strength of two government sources, that Canada was trying to join the trilateral agreement concluded in September 2021, which aims to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.
Until recently, Anita Anand justified Canada’s exclusion by arguing that “the main objective” of the pact was the acquisition of a type of submarine, and that this was not a Canadian priority in terms of “maritime capabilities”.
However, within the high command of the Canadian Armed Forces, some concerns have begun to be expressed. Vice-Admiral Bob Auchterlonie, for example, pointed out in January to La Presse Canadienne that the treaty goes further than that.
“Underwater nuclear technology has been around for a while now, so sharing it is not that important. It’s more serious when we talk about advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning or quantum machine learning, “he explained then.
“It is changing rapidly. We need to be part of these discussions. Why weren’t we included? Where does resistance come from? Is this our policy? Are we going to invest? These are issues that raise concerns,” the vice admiral insisted in this interview with the news agency.