Q. Do you agree with the view that India should not join NATO+? Give reasons for your opinion. (150 words)04 Jul, 2023 GS Paper 2 International Relations
- Introduction: Start your answer with a brief overview of NATO+ grouping and advantages of joining it.
- Body: Discuss the reasons why should India not join the NATO+ group.
- Conclusion: Conclude by summarizing key points and with a forward-looking approach.
NATO+ is a term used to refer to a coalition consisting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and five countries, namely Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea. The primary objective of this group is to enhance global defense cooperation. Membership in NATO+ would offer several advantages to the members, such as seamless intelligence sharing, access to cutting-edge military technology, and a strengthened defense partnership with the United States.
Despite having several advantages, India shouldn’t join NATO+ for following reasons:
- Loss of strategic autonomy: India has always followed a policy of non-alignment and strategic autonomy in its foreign relations. Joining NATO+ would compromise India’s ability to pursue its own interests and values independently, as it would have to align with the collective decisions and actions of the alliance.
- Regional dynamics: India is located in a geopolitically sensitive region with its own complex security challenges. Joining NATO+ could complicate relations with its neighbors, particularly China, potentially escalating tensions and adversely affecting regional stability.
- Diverse security partnerships: India has a longstanding history of maintaining bilateral and multilateral security partnerships with various countries. Joining NATO+ may lead to the perception that India is aligning more closely with Western powers, potentially straining its relationships with other important partners such as Russia.
- Can drag India into conflicts: India would also have to abide by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which stipulates that an armed attack against one member shall be considered an attack against all members. This could drag India into conflicts that are not directly related to its security or interests.
- Lack of mutual benefits: India does not share much in common with most of the NATO+ members, except for the US and Japan. India’s security concerns and priorities are different from those of Europe, Israel, or South Korea.
- May not be of much value addition for India: India already has bilateral or multilateral defense partnerships with many of these countries, such as the Quad, Malabar exercises, and defense trade agreements. Joining NATO+ would not add much value to India’s existing defense cooperation.
India should prioritize its strategic autonomy and maintain its non-aligned foreign policy stance. While cooperation with NATO+ members on specific issues is valuable, full membership would entail more costs than benefits for India’s security and foreign policy. Instead, India should continue to engage with NATO+ members on a case-by-case basis, depending on its national interests and objectives.
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