Reasons for India's refusal to join NATO Plus

NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It is a political and military alliance formed by several North American and European countries. NATO has played in key role in shaping the geo-political conditions of cold war era and even at present times.
After The dissolution of Soviet Union and the end of the cold war many thought that NATO would lose its relevance. On the contrary, NATO has not only survived but also expanded with Finland joining as its 31st member in April 2023 and Sweden waiting in the wings. We all are witnessing Russia's tirade against it and the invasion of Ukraine.
Are we heading towards Cold War 2.0?


Concept of NATO Plus

NATO Plus refers to security arrangement of NATO and the five treaty allies of the US i.e. Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and South Korea as its members to enhance global defence cooperation and win the strategic competition with the Chinese Communist Party.
->U.S + Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and South Korea.
NATO Plus is not an officially established concept within NATO itself but has been used in discussions and debates regarding the potential expansion of the alliance.
Earlier NATO's target was the Soviet Union and now Russia, the focus of NATO Plus is clearly on China. Therefore considering its disputes with China, India remains a missing link in the framework.

What led to origin of NATO?

The origin of NATO can be traced back to the aftermath of World War II.
In 1949, tensions started rising between the Soviet Union and its Eastern European states and the Western democracies. In that situation, twelve countries came together to form NATO to ensure collective defense mechanism.

Founding members of NATO:

NATO was created by 12 countries on 4th of April,1949 from Europe and North- America. Founding members of NATO were-
Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.
At present there are 31 member States in NATO.

Present NATO Countries:

Originally there were 12 countries including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. Other member countries became signatories as Greece and Turkey (1952), West Germany (1955 , Germany from 1990), Spain (1982), Czech Republic , Hungray and Poland (!999), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Sloveniaa(2004). Albania and Croatia (2009), Montenegro(2017), North Macedonia(2020) and Finland(2023).

Purpose of forming NATO:

You may have witnessed some friendships where fight against one friend is considered fight against all and the whole friend group joins hands to defeat the enemy without any second thought!
Same is with NATO.
The main purpose of NATO was to provide a mutual defense commitment among member countries. The North Atlantic Treaty was signed on April 4, 1949 which established the organization and outlined its principles. According to the treaty, an armed attack against one or more member states would be considered an attack against all, and collective measures would be taken in response.
In order to counter the perceived threat posed by the Soviet Union and the spread of communism in Europe.
It aimed to promote stability, deter aggression, and ensure the collective security of its members.

Why is India not joining NATO ?

In response to recent recommendations from powerful Congressional Committee in the United States to strengthen NATO Plus by including India, India's External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar clarified that India has no intention of joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) stating that the military alliance is not suitable for India.
Earlier India was adopting policy of Non- Alignment but now we are following policy of All-Alignment.

Pros and Cons of India joining NATO Plus:

  • In the light of increasing regional security challenges, NATO Plus could provide India with the security umbrella, with protection and deterrence against potential threats.
  • India could also gain access to advanced military technology, intelligence sharing platforms and inter-operability with other members states.
  • This could potentially strengthen India's defence capabilities and modernisation efforts.
  • Getting into NATO framework will annoy Russia and China. Apart from the robust strategic partnership, Russia has been useful to India in dealing with regional security challenges and moderating the stance of China. Russia has remained a faithful and valuable partner for India for ages.
  • Having a military framework will limit India's freedom of action and prevent it from pursuing an independent policy towards China.
  • India has traditionally maintained the policy of strategic autonomy, allowing it to engage with various nations and blocks based on its own interests. Joining the NATO Framework would require India to align its defence and security policies with the objectives and strategies of the alliance and thereby potentially undermining India's autonomy.

What is done by NATO so far?

NATO plays an important role in international politics and peace making at universal level. A number of operations and rescue programmes are being run for securing peace and democratic behavior. It performed:

  • NATO's role in Kosovo
  • NATO's Mission Iraq
  • Operation Sea Guardian
  • NATO's Maritime Activities
  • Assistance for Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Aegean Sea
  • Cooperation with African Union
  • Peace support operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina etc.

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