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North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), NATO Plus

  • Context (TH): The U.S. has expressed openness to greater engagement with India within NATO, with discussions of including India in the NATO-Plus framework.
  • India rejects the idea because joining this NATO framework, which primarily aims to contain China, can potentially undermine India’s autonomy.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

  • NATO is a political and military alliance created in the aftermath of World War II by 12 countries from Europe and North America in 1949.
  • The headquarters of NATO is in Brussels, Belgium, while the Allied Command Operations headquarters is near Mons, Belgium.
  • During the Cold War, NATO operated as a check on the threat posed by the Soviet Union.
  • The alliance remained in place after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact.


  • North Atlantic Council is NATO’s principal political decision-making body.
  • The principle of collective defence is enshrined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which commits NATO members to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

Member States

  • Currently, NATO comprises 31 countries (29 European + 2 North American).
  • NATO makes its decisions by consensus. Hence, if a new country wants to join NATO, it must be supported by all other members. Any of its member countries can veto a new member.
  • For example, Turkey opposes Sweden’s wish to join NATO due to its alleged support of Kurdish militants.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Members

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Members

Post-Cold War Era

  • When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, questions were raised about NATO’s relevance and future.
  • NATO succeeded in refashioning from collective defence to collective security.
  • It has been a mutually beneficial arrangement, offering security to Europe at a low price.
  • For the U.S., NATO has been an ideal vehicle for power projection worldwide.
  • NATO has been involved in military operations in the Balkans, the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.

Nato Plus

  • Nato Plus is a grouping of NATO and five countries — Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea. The group works toward boosting global defence cooperation.

Advantages for India if it joins the NATO Plus

  • 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.
  • Switzerland, Moldova and Belarus are neither NATO nor EU members.
  • Austria is a member of the EU but not NATO
  • The UK is a member of NATO but not the EU.

Warsaw pact

  • It was a collective defence treaty signed in 1955 by Russia and 7 other states to counter the US-led NATO. (All these 7 states are now members of NATO)
  • It was abolished in 1991.

Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)

  • The USSR’s successor Russia and some other post-Soviet states joined the CSTO in 1992.
  • Current members of CSTO are Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia and Belarus.
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