The Australian government on Tuesday (02.22.2022) announced an investment of A$804.4 million ($577 million or 511 million euros) in projects such as drone and helicopter surveillance in Antarctica, a region where China has expanded its activities and presence.
The Canberra Executive’s investment in the next 10 years, which includes the establishment of mobile stations in Antarctica, is part of its strategic and scientific expansion plans to strengthen its leadership in the frozen continent.
“The money we are investing in fleets of drones, helicopters and other vehicles will allow us to explore areas in the interior of East Antarctica that no country has previously been able to access,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.
Australia has three research bases off the coast of this continent, where countries often inspect sites to ensure compliance with a treaty banning military activity and mining, but where China has stations inland.
The fund will also work to support scientific expeditions into Antarctica, where Australian territory covers 42 percent of the frozen continent, for mapping research, and support for environmental protection, among other strategic and science projects.
For Environment Minister Susan Lee, the package of measures will improve her country’s scientific capacity and “ensure Antarctica continues to be a place of science and conservation, free of conflict and protected from exploitation,” according to the statement. governmental.
For her part, Antarctic strategist Elizabeth Buchanan told Australian public broadcaster ABC that the investment in drones “clearly indicates that Canberra is entering the gray zone for dual-use technologies,” which “could encourage Russia and China” in an “arms race for similar capabilities.” Dual use, if you will.”
mg (ef, afp)
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