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Canada wants more cooperation with AUKUS allies on advanced technologies

FILE PHOTO-Canada's Defense Minister Anita Anand meets with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (not pictured) at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., April 28, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

Canada wants to work more closely with allies including Australia, United States and the UK in areas of advanced technologies, Defense Minister Anita Anand said on Monday, when asked if the country wanted to join the AUKUS defense alliance.

"Canada is highly interested in furthering cooperation on AI, quantum computing and other advanced technologies with a defense nexus with our closest allies," Anand told reporters in Ottawa, when asked about a newspaper report saying Ottawa was seeking to join the AUKUS alliance.

The Canadian government wants to take advantage of the information-sharing and advanced technologies development part of the alliance, including undersea defense capabilities, the Globe and Mail reported earlier on Monday, citing unnamed government sources.

The Globe said Ottawa was only seeking to join only the non-nuclear component of the security alliance between Australia, UK and the U.S., which was launched in 2021.

The security pact also aims to provide Australia with the technology and capability to deploy nuclear-powered submarines.

The pact has been denounced by countries including China and France, which lost its own submarine deal with Australia after the alliance was formed. Canada's exclusion from the alliance was also seen as a snub by some for a country already in the intelligence-sharing Five Eyes alliance with AUKUS members and New Zealand.

"Our ties with our Five Eyes allies are strong, and indeed we remain interested in furthering cooperation in AI and other innovation efforts with our allies," Anand said.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; editing by Steve Scherer and Jonathan Oatis)

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