India’s talks with NATO

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August 12, 2022

Why in news?

There have been talks that India had held its first political dialogue with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in December 2019.

What is NATO?

  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO, is a political and military alliance of 28 European countries and 2 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.
  • NATO is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium while the headquarters of the Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.
  • Collective defence is laid out in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty in which members of NATO are committed to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

What are the origins of NATO?

  • At the end of WWII, as battered European nations started to rebuild their economies, the US was critical to prevent the westward expansion of communist USSR.
  • The European Recovery Programme, known as the Marshall Plan promoted the idea of shared interests and cooperation between the US and Europe.
  • The USSR declined to participate in the Marshall Plan, and discouraged eastern European states in its sphere of influence from receiving American economic assistance.
  • Later, series of events took place regarding the expansion of territories that led the US to conclude an American-European alliance against the USSR
  • In 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 US Congress passed the Vandenburg Resolution which was the stepping stone to NATO.
  • Later, the NATO treaty was signed in Washington DC in 1949 with 12 signatories initially.

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

  • The North Atlantic alliance has been engaging both China and Pakistan in bilateral dialogue.
  • Engaging China- Until 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.
  • Engaging Pakistan- NATO had also been in political dialogue and military cooperation with Pakistan
  • It opened selective training for Pakistani officers and its military delegation visited Pakistan in November 2019 for military staff talks.
  • India’s talk with NATO- Engaging NATO in a political dialogue would provide New Delhi an opportunity to bring about a balance in NATO’s perceptions about the situation in regions and issues of concerns to India.

What common ground does India have with NATO?

  • India’s perspective- In New Delhi’s assessment, there was a convergence in the perspectives of both India and NATO on
    • China
    • Terrorism
    • Afghanistan, including Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan
  • NATO’s perspective- From NATO’s perspective, it was not China, but Russia whose aggressive actions continued to be the main threat to Euro-Atlantic security
  • 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.
  • China factor- While NATO did deliberate on China’s rise, the conclusion was that China presented both a challenge and an opportunity.
  • Other areas- The Indian side felt maritime security was a principal area of conversation in the future, given a substantial common ground with NATO.
  • Next steps- In NATO’s view, India, given its geo-strategic position and unique perspectives on various issues, was relevant to international security and could be an important partner.
  • New Delhi may consider proposals emanating from NATO, if any, on bilateral cooperation in areas of interest to India, based on the progress achieved in the initial rounds.



  1. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/india-nato-talks-explained-significance-common-ground-china-pakistan-8085582/
  2. https://www.nato.int/nato-welcome/index.html


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