France knew "The capability being delivered by the Attack class submarine was not going to meet our strategic interests," says Morrison

France would have known Australia had “deep and grave concerns” that a submarine fleet the French were building would not meet Australian needs, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Sunday after the contract’s cancellation set off a diplomatic crisis, the Associated Press reported.

France accused Australia of concealing its intentions to back out of the 90 billion Australian dollar ($66 billion) contract for French majority state-owned Naval Group to build 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.

President Joe Biden revealed last week a new alliance including Australia and Britain that would deliver an Australian fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines.

Morrison blamed the switch on a deteriorating strategic environment in the Indo-Pacific. He has not specifically referred to China’s massive military buildup, which has gained pace in recent years. “The capability that the Attack class submarines were going to provide was not what Australia needed to protect our sovereign interests,” Morrison said.

“They would have had every reason to know that we have deep and grave concerns that the capability being delivered by the Attack class submarine was not going to meet our strategic interests and we have made very clear that we would be making a decision based on our strategic national interest,” he added, referring to the French government.

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