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‘NATO plus five’

  • It is a grouping of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and five countries.

  • The arrangement currently exists between the U.S, its NATO partners and five countries: Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan and Israel. 

  • The group works toward boosting global defence cooperation.

  • The U.S. Senate’s India Caucus to push for ‘NATO plus five’ status for India.

  • External Affairs Minister, India however, had already rejected the framework for India.

  • It is to enhance “global defence cooperation” and win the “strategic competition with the Chinese Communist Party”.

  • The term ‘NATO Plus’ is not an officially recognised or established concept within NATO itself, but has been used in discussions and debates regarding the potential expansion of the alliance.

  • The inclusion of these countries as members would require a complex process of negotiation and assessment of their compatibility with NATO’s principles, obligations, and defence commitments.

  • While NATO’s earlier target was the Soviet Union and now Russia.

  • The focus of NATO Plus is clearly on containing China. 

  • Therefore, considering its disputes with China, India remains a missing link in the framework.

Benefits for India by becoming a member of NATO Plus

  • Provide it with a security umbrella, with protection and deterrence against potential threats.

  • India would gain access to seamless intelligence sharing between these countries.

  • India would get access to the latest military technology without much of a time lag.

  • It would further strengthen India’s defence partnership with the United States.

Challenges for India

  • Getting into any NATO framework will annoy Russia and China.

Relations with Russia:

  • Apart from the robust strategic partnership, Russia has been useful to India in dealing with regional security challenges and, importantly, moderating the stance of China.

  • Even though Russia is getting over-dependent on China, post the war in Ukraine, Moscow remains a valuable partner for India.

  • Should it join, in one stroke, India’s solidified strategic partnership with Russia will crumble.

  • Balancing these relationships and managing potential geopolitical consequences would be a significant challenge for India.

China’s threat:

  • While aligning with a U.S.-led alliance system may be tempting due to the threats posed by China, it could ultimately prove counterproductive and detrimental.

  • Having a military framework will limit India’s freedom of action and prevent it from pursuing an independent policy towards China.

  • At a time when India has its own bilateral issues with China and a strategy for the Indo-Pacific, hopping into the Taiwan strategy of the U.S. under NATO Plus will complicate India’s security.

  • Possibility of Chinese justification for further military build-up along the India-China border and frequent intrusion.

India’s strategic autonomy:

  • India has traditionally maintained a policy of strategic autonomy, allowing it to engage with various nations and blocs based on its own interests.

  • Joining a NATO framework would require India to align its defence and security policies with the objectives and strategies of the alliance, thereby potentially undermining India’s autonomy.

  • NATO Plus membership could also limit its flexibility in engaging with other regional powers.

India’s priorities

  • India’s priorities lie in addressing its own regional dynamics that includes a unique set of security challenges such as border disputes, terrorism, and regional conflicts. 

  • NATO’s larger geopolitical agenda starting from Eurasia to the Indo-Pacific may divert resources and attention away from the pressing issues of India.

  • For the time being, India’s posturing through the Quad (India, Japan, Australia and the U.S.; the Asian NATO as per China) looks more promising than the NATO Plus bait, though China remains an elephant in the room during its summits.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: NATO Plus UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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