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06 May 2024 – The Indian Express


Details of the NATO

  • On April 4, 1975, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) ostentatiously commemorated its founding anniversary. Western nations convened in Washington, DC, on this day in 1949 to pledge support for one another’s defence. As fresh dangers approached and the wounds from the Second World War were still fresh, they vowed to protect their peoples’ independence. Reaffirming the alliance’s commitment to democracy, freedom, and the rule of law, tackling new security threats like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and laying out a plan for NATO’s future adaptation are among the main topics of attention for the alliance’s 75th anniversary.

NATO: What is it?

  • A military alliance with intergovernmental participation, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was established in 1949. During the Cold War, its main objective was to provide collective protection against possible aggression, especially from the Soviet Union. NATO’s basic purpose has been expanded upon throughout time to handle a variety of security problems.
  • Formation: The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. on April 4, 1949, marking the creation of NATO. by the twelve original founding members of North America and Europe.
  • Cold War Era: With the US giving its European allies substantial military support, NATO acted as a deterrence against Soviet expansionism at this time.
  • Post-Cold War: Following the fall of the Soviet Union, NATO broadened its mandate to cover cooperative security initiatives, crisis management, and conflict prevention.


  • Original Members: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom, and the United States were the initial 12 members of NATO.
  • Expansion: Since its establishment, NATO has grown by admitting new members in several rounds. There are presently 32 nations in the alliance.

 Goals and Mission:

  • NATO’s principal objective, as delineated in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, is collective defence. According to this article, if one member nation is attacked, all members will be targeted, and they will retaliate as a group.
  • Crisis Management: NATO carries out crisis management operations, such as peacekeeping, conflict prevention, and stabilisation efforts in many global locations, in addition to collective defence.


  • Political Leadership: Made up of ambassadors from each of NATO’s member nations, the North Atlantic Council (NAC) is the main political decision-making body of the alliance.
  • Military Command Structure: Regional Commands, Force Headquarters, and Strategic Commands (such as Allied Command Operations), which are in charge of operational planning and execution, make up NATO’s military command structure.
  • Integrated Military Forces: Under NATO leadership, member nations can provide manpower and resources to collective defence operations by maintaining integrated military forces.

What are the Different Issues Concerning the Operation of NATO?

  • NATO was established to protect its members from external threats. According to the facts, it was never harmed by one or in danger of one. Quite the contrary, NATO launched an offensive to defend its member states. It has started or taken part in more than 200 military confrontations globally over the past 70 years, including 20 significant ones.
  • The most notable examples among many are the bombing of Yugoslavia, the invasion of Iraq, the collapse of Libya as a state, the illegal military intervention in Syria, and the questionable outcomes of the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan.

War between Russia and Ukraine:

  • The greatest provocation of all time has been the alliance’s five waves of expansion since 1991, despite claims to the contrary and Ukraine’s transformation into a launchpad against Russia.
  • At the NATO summit in Madrid in 2022, the alliance abolished the discussion channels with Russia and approved the Strategic Concept, which declares Moscow to be the most important and direct threat to allied security, peace, and stability in the Euro-Atlantic—something Russia has never been.

 Upholding the Hegemony of the West:

  • The harsh truth is that NATO attacks or threatens to attack any state that rejects the decrepit liberal “rules-based order,” all the while announcing its peaceful goals.
  • Thus, NATO’s military might serves as a useful instrument for upholding Western hegemony over countries who aren’t seen as a military threat.
  • This establishes the idea that NATO is merely carrying on colonial practices in a contemporary manner while using the Euro-Atlantic rulers’ prescribed themes of democracy, human rights, and freedom.

 Unjustified Growth:

  • The coalition is strengthening its cyber and outer-space capabilities. In preparation for the modified regional military plans, NATO’s “eastern flank” is being bolstered with more forces and capabilities. The aggressive actions of NATO go beyond Russia. We are looking for additional partners throughout Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
  • NATO’s focus has shifted from traditionally close ties between nations to the post-Soviet area and Eurasia as a whole in an effort to further exacerbate tensions.

 Making Profits from the Indo-Pacific Threat:

  • Under the pretext of “indivisibility of security in the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions,” NATO is attempting to expand its responsibilities over the entire eastern hemisphere, which is a new example of the block’s expansionism.
  • In order to force them into actual collaboration with NATO, the US has been busy developing pocket minilateral frameworks, such as AUKUS, the US-Japan-South Korea troika, and the Tokyo-Seoul-Canberra-Wellington quartet.

 What were NATO grouping’s achievements and shortcomings?


The War of Cold War:

  • NATO’s actions throughout the Cold War were based on three objectives: reining in the Soviet Union, deterring communism and extremist nationalism throughout Europe, and fostering stronger political unification among Europeans.
  • The partnership was crucial in keeping the Cold War’s tight peace and making sure it stayed “cold.” NATO sought to further uphold peace after the conflict.
  • They founded the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, and in 1997, the Founding Act of NATO promoted bilateral talks between the United States and Russia.

 Contemporary Defence:

  • NATO still offers its members some degree of protection today. Only once since NATO’s founding—by the US on 9/11—has a member been attacked and Article 5 used.
  • Collective security is provided to member nations, exactly as NATO was intended to. Furthermore, NATO has established an international network encompassing over 40 nations and other global partners, such as the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the African Union.
  • NATO uses this network to support its crisis management operations, which include counterterrorism operations in the Mediterranean and along Somalia’s coast, as well as aid missions like delivering supplies during the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.

 Giving Ukraine Humanitarian Aid:

  • NATO member nations and allies have generously sent significant help to Ukraine, while the alliance has openly condemned Russia’s invasion of that country. Approximately USD 54 billion has been donated to Ukraine by the US.
  • More than 5 million war refugees have received support and humanitarian aid from other nations. NATO’s significance has been underlined by the conflict in Ukraine, which has also encouraged Finland and Sweden to step up their efforts to join.
  • By enhancing its air and submarine capabilities, these nations’ participation would fortify NATO’s military position and enable it to further deter Russian aggression.

Financial Concerns:

  • The defence ministers of NATO member states pledged in 2006 to devote 2% of their GDP to defence expenditures. Nevertheless, most NATO members fall short of this objective. At the moment, the US finances more than two thirds of the alliance’s defence.
  • NATO had a significant presence in Afghanistan following 9/11, and its forces were essential in helping the Afghan government. NATO and US forces were pulled out of Afghanistan in 2020 after President Donald Trump struck a deal with the Taliban.
  • The Taliban promptly overthrew the Afghan government as a result of this. NATO spent twenty years in Afghanistan, but no lasting solution was found, and the country’s previous administration could not continue without them.

 Conservative Nationalism:

  • Discontent with international organisations like NATO and the EU increases as right-wing nationalism spreads throughout Europe. There may be more calls for nations to leave organisations like NATO if right-wing nationalist forces continue to gain traction throughout Europe. Currently, NATO’s challenge is to unite a divided Europe while countering and addressing their criticism.
  • Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, NATO has welcomed a number of former Warsaw Pact members, despite alleged verbal commitments to Russia that it would not expand to the east.
  • Russia now feels more and more threatened because NATO countries surround it and there are plans for more enlargement. One of the main justifications for Russian actions in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict has been attributed to the risk of Ukraine joining NATO.
  • India balances its strategic objectives with both Russia and NATO while maintaining a nuanced posture that emphasises non-alignment and bilateral cooperation in the fields of economics and defence.

 What Reforms Are Needed to Increase NATO’s Effectiveness and Efficiency?

 The standard, consistency, and timeliness of guidance:

  • Increase the significance and capabilities of the Military Committee, Political Committee, Executive Working Group, Policy Coordination Group, and Senior Resource Board—the five primary policy committees in NATO.
  • Ensure that these committees are more coordinated and that their agendas reflect the priorities of the Council. This will assist in converting the Council’s recommendations into timely and useful assistance for NATO bodies that are both military and civilian.

 The non-military aspect of NATO:

  • Make sure that, in cooperation with other international organisations and local actors, the allies provide the Alliance with the political and operational civil expertise and capacity it needs to effectively carry out its mandate when the time comes to engage the Alliance; this may necessitate the establishment of a civil security committee or other comparable structure.

 Internal Synergy and Organisational Cohesion:

  • Orient not only the NATO headquarters but also a streamlined group of NATO organisations both inside and outside of Brussels in order to meet a changing set of strategic-level priorities and improve visibility, openness, and unity of purpose throughout the Alliance.

 A united and inclusive alliance:

  • Institutional frameworks ought to reflect the interdependence of Alliance security, striving to preserve and strengthen allied cohesiveness and unity as well as promote a common goal.
  • In order to facilitate consensus-building and coordinated operations, NATO structures and procedures must first and foremost bring together the interests, concerns, political will, and military capabilities of all partners.
  • Every effort should be made to ensure that structures and processes between the allies and the growing number of non-NATO countries foster and enable political consultation, integrated planning, training, exercises, and operations.

 The Alliance Has to Continue Being Unique:

  • Although NATO must to proactively collaborate with other global institutions to tackle intricate crises via a Comprehensive Approach, this must not compromise its fundamental advantage of merging resilient military prowess with sophisticated tactics.
  • While defending its territory is still NATO’s primary responsibility, many contend that the alliance has to change even more to counter non-conventional threats like supply chain security risks, cyberattacks, terrorism, and disinformation operations.
  • NATO is reaching a pivotal point in its illustrious history as it approaches its 75th anniversary in 2024. With a rules-based international order, NATO has effectively upheld its fundamental objective of defending the independence and security of its members. Nonetheless, the last several decades have seen a fast changing picture of international security marked by the reappearance of great power rivalry, transnational threats, and challenging contemporary issues.
  • NATO needs to keep evolving and reforming in order to be an effective bastion of peace and stability. This includes increasing its investment in defensive capabilities and streamlining the decision-making process.

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