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International Relations

Atlantic Charter

  • 12 Jun 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, the US' President and UK’s Prime Minister signed a new version of the 80-year old Atlantic Charter.

Key Points

  • Atlantic Charter (1941):
    • The Atlantic Charter was a joint declaration released by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on 14th August, 1941 (during World War II) following a meeting of the two heads of government in Newfoundland.
      • The Atlantic Charter was subsequently incorporated by reference in the Declaration of the United Nations in 1942.
      • World War II was a conflict that involved virtually every part of the world during the years 1939–45.
      • The principal belligerents were:
        • Axis powers: Germany, Italy, and Japan.
        • Allies: France, Great Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union, and, to a lesser extent, China.
    • The Atlantic Charter provided a broad statement of US and British war aims such as:
      • They desired no territorial changes without the free assent of the peoples concerned.
      • They respected every people’s right to choose its own form of government and wanted sovereign rights and self-government restored to those forcibly deprived of them.
      • They would try to promote equal access for all states to trade and to raw materials.
      • They hoped to promote worldwide collaboration so as to improve labour standards, economic progress, and social security.
      • The destruction of “Nazi tyranny,” (Germany) they would look for a peace under which all nations could live safely within their boundaries, without fear or want.
      • Under such a peace the seas should be free.
      • Pending a general security through renunciation of force, potential aggressors must be disarmed.
  • New Atlantic Charter (2021):
    • The new charter, a 604-word declaration, is an effort to stake out a grand vision for global relationships in the 21st century, just as the original was a declaration of a Western commitment to democracy and territorial integrity just months before the US entered World War II.
    • It is a statement of principles, a promise that the UK and the US would meet the challenges of their age together. It calls for both countries to adhere to the rules-based international order.
    • The new charter focuses on climate change and the need to protect biodiversity. With references to emerging technologies, cyberspace and sustainable global development.
    • It calls on Western allies to oppose interference through disinformation or other malign influences, including in elections.
      • It ranks the threats to democratic nations in a technological era.
    • It vows that as long as there are nuclear weapons, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) will remain a nuclear alliance.
  • Opportunity for India:
    • The old Atlantic Charter alienated Indian nationalism from the West but the new Charter and the rebooting of western institutions should facilitate a productive phase of India’s cooperation with the US and its allies.
      • In 1941, the UK insisted that the principle of self-determination highlighted in the charter did not apply to India.
      • However, the presence of India and South Africa along with Australia and South Korea (as guests) at the G-7 summit 2021 is a recognition of the urgent imperative to widen the basis of the West in dealing with global challenges.
    • The current Anglo-American effort to institutionalise western consultations with India is a long overdue correction.
      • Indian Prime Minister, who is remotely joining the discussions at the G-7 summit (2021), has an opportunity to signal a commitment to both address perceptions about shrinking democratic freedoms within India and offer substantive collaboration with the western democracies on global issues.

Source: IE

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