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12th August 2022 (7 Topics)

What is the significance of India’s talks with NATO?


The Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Defence has said that the idea of initiating dialogue with NATO was primarily political in character, and it will avoid making any commitment on military or other bilateral cooperation.


  • New Delhi held its first political dialogue with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in Brussels on December 12, 2019.
  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO, is a political and military alliance of 28 European countries and two countries in North America (United States and Canada).
  • It was set up in 1949 by the US, Canada, and several western European nations to ensure their collective security against the Soviet Union.
  • It was the US’s first peacetime military alliance outside the western hemisphere.
  • Thirty countries are currently members of NATO, which is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

Why NATO alliance has been formed?

  • Since after World War II, the shattered European nations started to rebuild their economies and the US, which believed that an economically strong, re-armed, and integrated Europe.
  • It was also critical so as to prevent the westward expansion of communist USSR, embarked on a programme to supply economic aid to the continent on a massive scale.
  • To conclude that an American-European alliance against the USSR was necessary, the Europeans were convinced of the need for a collective security solution, and in March 1948, the UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg signed the Brussels Treaty of collective defence, which meant that if any of the signatories faced an attack, they would be defended by all the others.
  • The Vandenburg Resolution was the stepping stone to NATO.
  • The US believed the treaty would be more effective if it included, apart from the signatories of the Brussels Treaty, countries of the North Atlantic — Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Ireland, and Portugal.

NATO and Defence

  • Members of NATO are committed to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.
  • Collective defence lies at a unique and enduring principle that binds its members together, committing them to protect each other and setting a spirit of solidarity within the Alliance.

India’s significant talks with NATO

  • India’s talks with NATO hold significance given that the North Atlantic alliance has been engaging both China and Pakistan in bilateral dialogue.
  • There was a view here that given the role of Beijing and Islamabad in New Delhi’s strategic imperatives, reaching out to NATO would add a key dimension to India’s growing engagement with US and Europe.
  • Until December 2019, NATO had held nine rounds of talks with Beijing, and the Chinese Ambassador in Brussels and NATO’s Deputy Secretary General engaged with each other every quarter.
  • NATO had also been in political dialogue and military cooperation with Pakistan and it opened selective training for Pakistani officers and its military delegation visited Pakistan in November 2019 for military staff talks.

Do India and NATO stands on similar lines?

  • The answer to it is ‘YES’ in the perspectives on China, terrorism, and Afghanistan, including Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan.
  • Though there are few differences too in India and NATO agenda:
  • From NATO’s perspective, it was not China, but Russia whose aggressive actions continued to be the main threat to Euro-Atlantic security, and that NATO had faced difficulties to convene meetings of NATO-Russia Council due to Russian refusal to place issues such as Ukraine and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty on the agenda.
  • Given the divergence among NATO countries, its view on China was seen as mixed.
  • In Afghanistan, NATO saw the Taliban as a political entity, which was not in line with India’s stance.

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