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‘NATO plus five’ status for India

  • Published
    22nd Jun, 2023

The U.S. Senate’s India Caucus Co-Chairs, has introduced legislation to give India ‘NATO plus five’ defence status.

Caucus is a meeting (in some US states) at which local members of a political party register their preference among candidates running for office or select delegates to attend a convention.

  • US want India to be a part of NATO plus, a group allied with 'Western' military powers.
  • India's inclusion in NATO Plus is being suggested to counter China and enhance the deterrence for Taiwan.

About ‘NATO plus five’:

  • The arrangement currently exists between the U.S, its NATO partners and five countries: Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan and Israel.
  • The announcement follows a recommendation from a S. House of Representatives committee on China that India be included in the club.
  • ‘NATO plus 5’, is a security arrangement that brings together NATO and five aligned nations to boost defense and intelligence ties.

What can be the consequences for India?

  • Breaking India – Russia ties: If India joins the US-led NATO alliance which is backing Ukraine in the current war with Russia; it will directly impact New Delhi's strong, established and deep ties with Russia.
    • The US wants to cut off Russia and gain India’s defence deals and benefit from its strategic location in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Jeopardising India’s Strategic Autonomy: NATO membership may also affect India’s strategic autonomy over its nuclear arsenal.
    • A European Parliament report on EU strategic autonomy 2013-2023 mentioned how European nations fear that increasing their strategic autonomy may lead to constraints in free trade.
  • Entertaining US’s military bases: Till now, India does not host any foreign military base on its turf – but joining NATO Plus would mean the US will eventually have a military base in India as well.
  • Being part of NATO would essentially mean that India will get dragged into America’s conflicts.

Are there any benefits for India too?

  • Military-Strategic Benefits: An India-NATO dialogue would simply mean having regular contact with a military alliance, most of whose members are well-established partners of India.
    • Further, India has military exchanges with many members of NATO — including the US, Britain, and France — in bilateral and multilateral formats.
    • Therefore, in the longer term, India would derive military-strategic benefits from a partnership with the world’s most powerful alliance.
  • Era of Multi-Alignment: India might align with China and developing nations against the US in World Trade Organisation (WTO) but militarily oppose China while contemplating a “Quad” with the USA, Japan, and Australia.
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