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Morrison refutes Australia allegations that he lied over the billion-dollar submarine deal

The Australian submarine deal has riled allies across the world (Photo: IANS)

With waters turning muddy over the hush-hush submarine deal, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison refuted French accusations that Canberra lied about plans to cancel the French submarine deal.

In his defence, Morrison said that France was aware about Australia's "deep and grave concerns" that the French subs would not meet Australian standards. Morrison added that he had raised concerns over the deal a few months back.

Under severe fire, Morrison has insisted that he and his ministers had communicated their issues about the French subs. He told reporters in Sydney: "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".

The French have said that the cancellation of the deal was sudden and there was no hint from Australia. France has remained unpacified as it is likely to see a massive loss of jobs and earnings from the cancelled deal.

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Australia's decision to enter into the AUKUS pact with the US and the UK over buying American nuclear-powered submarines in a quiet deal has angered France, which said that it amounts to a "back-stab". In retaliation, a furious Paris has recalled French ambassadors from Canberra and Washington.

Since then, an unending barrage of allegations and counter-allegations have sullied relations between France, Australia, the UK and the US after Australia cancelled French company Naval's multi-billion deal to provide 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.

Australia has upped its defence budget last year and has been on a weapon's buying spree after relations with China nosedived over the 'origins and spread of coronavirus' from the Chinese city of Wuhan in 2020.

The series of unfortunate events between allies is likely to undermine the Indo-Pacific alliance that the US had been building with European and Asian nations.

French President Emmanuel Macron is likely to speak with US President Joe Biden in the coming days. Paris is most likely to seek a clarification about the US-Australia deal.

Morrison will meet Biden earlier as the face-to-face Quadrilateral, better known as the Quad, meet between the US, Japan, India and Australia is slated this week.

Experts say France is also likely to seek compensation for Naval which could run into tens of millions of dollars.