NATO Summit - Vilnius

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July 22, 2023

Why in news?

The latest NATO summit held in Vilnius, Lithuania underscored the new reason for strengthening and expanding the alliance.

What is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)?

  • NATO - It is a 31-member alliance, with 29 European nations, and two American nations (United States and Canada).
  • It was set up in 1949 by the US, Canada and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union.
  • Collective defence - 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.
  • Aim - To protect peace and to guarantee the territorial integrity, political independence and security of the member states.
  • Headquarters - Brussels, Belgium.
  • India - India is not a part of NATO, however, there are plans to include India in NATO Plus.

How is this summit different from the previous summits?

  • Ukraine - The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attended the summit.
  • This raised anticipation around the possibility of extending NATO membership to Ukraine.
  • The 3 priorities of Ukraine such as new weapons packages, security guarantees and an invitation to join NATO, went unfulfilled.
  • However, the U.K. did pledge ammunition support to Ukraine.

What are the takeaways from this NATO summit?

  • New members - Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • Finland became the 31st member of NATO in April 2023.
  • NATO signed the accession protocol for Sweden to join the alliance in 2022 but their bid is being held up by Turkey and Hungary.
  • Significance of new entrants - The new entry shows 2 things.
  • The Alliance continues to practise Article 10 of the Washington Treaty signed in April 1949 which states that member countries can invite other European countries to become members of NATO.
  • Ukraine’s potential membership conceptually continues to deter Russia from taking steps against members of NATO.
  • Sweden-Turkey - Turkey’s scaling back of its long-standing opposition to Sweden’s inclusion in NATO.
  • This shows Turkey’s desire to mend relations with the US and improve the bipartisan relations.
  • U.S.’s stance - U.S. President Joe Biden’s speech at the summit extended unwavering support to the alliance as well as Ukraine.
  • It is evident that Mr. Biden’s approach to NATO is different from that of Trump’s who considered withdrawing from NATO.
  • This resurrects trans-Atlantic solidarity.
  • China - The Vilnius summit did not talk directly on the challenges and threats emerging from China’s stated ambitions and coercive policies.
  • However, it stated that NATO faces threats from China’s malicious hybrid cyber operations that pose a threat to the security of the Alliance.
  • Indo-Pacific - The NATO summit emphasised that the developments in the Indo-Pacific have become increasingly consequential for Euro-Atlantic security.
  • The expanding space for Quad countries in Indo-Pacific, along with other regional countries like New Zealand and South Korea also influences Euro-Atlantic security.
  • To know about NATO Membership – Click Here.


  1. The Hindu - What are the takeaways from the NATO summit?
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