With to the recently announced Aukus defence pact, Australia will soon become just the seventh nation of the world to commandeer nuclear-powered submarines. Even though few countries have these special kinds of submarines at their disposal, the discrepancies are huge as our chart shows.
According to data by the Nuclear Threat Initiative supplemented by Statista research, the U.S. leads the race for sub-nautical dominance with 68 nuclear-powered submarines. 51 of those ships are so-called fast attack or hunter-killer submarines specifically engineered to engage other submarines, while the rest are able to carry guided and ballistic missiles potentially outfitted with nuclear warheads. In sheer number, the only other countries coming close are Russia with a total of 57 and 36 nuclear-powered submarines, while China's navy is equipped with ten submarines with nuclear propulsion technology and 50 ships with diesel-electric engines.
The Aukus pact between the U.S., the UK and Australia aims to strengthen the West's military power in the Indo-Pacific area, countering the growth of Chinese influence. The People's Republic foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian called this move a reinstatement of a "Cold War [...] mentality" and an accelerator of the global arms race, while France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called it "a stab in the back" due to the cancellation of Australia's order of twelve submarines from the European country in the wake of the new pact.