As per a report published in the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper of Australia on Monday, 23 Jan, ‘23, Australia is all set to spend nearly AUD 1 billion ($698 million) on the purchase of sea mines, high-tech underwater weapon with the aim to secure sea lines of communication. The defence industry of Australia has made a deal to procure a significant number of sea mines from a European weapons supplier. The move comes after the Australian government decided to deter potential adversaries, especially China in the Pacific region.
Sea mines are powerful and potent and can be used at strategic locations to challenge the incoming enemy fleets. They are a cheap and cost effective way to sink ships and can differentiate between military targets and other ships. The Defence Department had launched ‘SEA2000’ in 2021 under Minister Peter Dutton with the objective to find new alternatives for Australia to enhance its warfare capabilities. The sea mines that will be acquired by Australia will provide them with the benefit of being remotely activated or deactivated.
Apart from securing its sea lanes, Australia is also looking towards enhancing its military requirements. Australian government has already announced the procurement of HIMARS long range rocket system from the US’ biggest arms supplier, Lockheed Martin earlier this month. In order to strengthen its military capabilities, Canberra has decided to spend an additional AUD 2 billion on its defence budget. In 2021, Australia had made a deal with the US and the UK to procure more nuclear submarines. The Defence Minister of Australia, Richard Marles also commented on the need to develop the military capacities of Australia in order for it to become like a fortified island.
The Chinese have already stepped up their presence in the Pacific region by entering into a security pact with the Solomon Islands which would increase the Chinese presence in the region. The Chinese Navy already has around 100,000 sea mines. In such a situation, Australia’s decision to procure sea mines could help provide the Australian Navy an edge over the growing Chinese presence in the Pacific. Australia, that has been seen till date as the weakest member of QUAD in terms of military capabilities, is now on the track of challenging Beijing in the Indo-Pacific region.