France has cancelled an evening gala that was scheduled to held on 17 September, Friday to celebrate relations with the United States. This announcement comes following a new defence alliance that resulted in the US supplying Australia with submarines instead of France. According to the New York Times, France called US President Joe Biden’s announcement of a deal to help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines “rash” and “sudden,” and further announced the cancellation of the event which was supposed to take place at their Washington embassy.
A French official told the media outlet that the event commemorating the ‘240th Anniversary of the Battle of the Capes’, which was supposed to take place aboard a French frigate in Baltimore, has also been cancelled. The New York Times reported that France’s top naval officer, who had travelled to Washington for the event celebrating their navy’s help with America’s battle for independence in 1781, will return to Paris early instead. The development comes after France expressed frustration over a submarine deal, which ends a long-standing contract between Australia and France and replaces it with a deal between the US, UK and Australia. London and Washington have agreed to assist Canberra in acquiring nuclear-powered submarines.
Following the announcement of Australia's new nuclear submarines, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the deal a “unilateral, brutal and unpredictable decision”. While speaking to radio station Franceinfo, Le Drian said that it was a “stab in the back”, and added that France had established a relationship of trust with Australia and it has now been “betrayed”. Further, the French Foreign Minister also noted that Australia was rejecting a deal for a strategic partnership that involved a lot of technological transfers and a contract for a 50-year-period.
Australia dumped its contract with France to build diesel-electric submarines. Canberra had notified Paris that it would end its contract with state majority-owned DCNS to build 12 of the world’s largest conventional submarines. It is worth noting that Australia had spent $1.8 billion on the project since France won the contract in 2016. But now, the $66 billion deal is defunct, and a harsh legal battle over the contract appears inevitable, NYT reported.