Sunday, July 14, 2024

India rejects bid to join NATO

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Over the years, NATO has grown in strength, it served as the effective counterweight to the Warsaw Pact of the communist bloc. It, however was supposed to have finished its purpose with the termination of the cold war. But, it continued its existence even after the end of the cold war.

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NATO or North Atlantic Treaty Organization, founded in 1948 is a Euro-Atlantic alliance that was established on the premise of  strengthening western military and economic security. It pledged to prevent the spread of communism in western Europe and in North America.

 

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The bulwark of western security

It has been, over the years, the bulwark of western security. It has been responsible not only for protecting its members militarily by invoking Article 1 of the NATO charter, but also has helped in preserving their territorial integrity.

After the cold war, the objectives changed to dealing with new threats, principally Islamic terrorism and great power threat from China, in particular cyber threats from the dragon.

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India’s stand

Historically, India has been opposed to military alliances, right from the days of the cold war.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru made it a cardinal aspect of his foreign policy, to oppose militarism in world affairs of all sorts.

India has opposed both the NATO and the Warsaw Pact since the days of inception. India decided, in the early years after the end of the cold war to strengthen its trade and economic partnerships with NATO countries, particularly in defense products with the aim of bolstering India’s security. France, Britain, USA emerged as key partners in the defense sector.

Rationale behind the decision

External affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar has highlighted that NATO+ alliance whose primary focus is on containing China is not in tune with India’s foreign policy. He highlighted that given the recent economic slowdown in the country and other political turmoil will enable India to take the bull by the horns.

India wants to maintain strategic autonomy when it comes to military alliance like NATO. She doesn’t want to bandwagon with the West which will reduce strategic manoeuvrability in world affairs. India is an independent major power capable of having her independent voice in world affairs.

Another reason is the geography, China and India are separated by the Himalayan mountain range which highlights the non feasible nature of India joining the alliance. It will be a strategic blunder.

On the other hand, it must be kept in mind that it will undermine the purpose of the Quad and Quad+. India has time and again highlighted that Quad is not ‘Asian NATO’. It is aimed at building a strong democratic framework with a win-win approach. It is not aimed at ‘containing’ China like NATO does.

 

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