Security Issues

India’s NATO+5 Status

  • The US Senate is preparing to introduce legislation granting India ‘NATO plus five’ defence status as Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Washington.
  • This framework, however, has already been rejected by India’s External Affairs Minister.

What exactly is NATO Plus?

  • NATO Plus is a partnership comprised of NATO and five countries: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea.
  • This group’s major goal is to improve worldwide defence cooperation.
  • Membership in NATO Plus would provide India with various benefits, including seamless intelligence sharing across member nations, immediate access to cutting-edge military technologies, and a reinforced defence alliance with the United States.

Why is the US keen to introduce India to NATO?

The US is eager to welcome India into NATO for the following reasons:

  • Counterbalancing China: The entry of India in NATO would serve to offset China’s dominance in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Defence cooperation between the United States and India would be strengthened.
  • Improving regional stability: India’s participation would help to boost regional stability and defence capability.
  • NATO’s worldwide influence would be expanded by including India, which would handle security problems in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Promoting a rule-based order: It is consistent with shared principles such as democracy, human rights, and freedom of navigation.

Advantages if India ever joins

  • Joining NATO + 5 would provide India with various benefits, including:
  • Increased security cooperation and intelligence sharing with NATO and its five partner countries, namely Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea, will benefit India.
  • Access to advanced military technology: Through expedited transfer protocols, India would have access to the latest military technologies and equipment, allowing for faster modernisation of its defence forces.
  • Defence partnership strengthened: Becoming a NATO + 5 member will boost India’s defence alliance with the US and other NATO allies, leading to tighter collaboration on various defence programmes.
  • Improved regional security: India’s involvement in NATO + 5 will help to strengthen regional security, particularly in the Indo-Pacific area, by encouraging cooperation among like-minded countries to handle similar security concerns.
  • Enhanced deterrent against adversaries: Being a part of this defence structure would strengthen India’s deterrence capabilities against potential adversaries, especially given the region’s escalating security challenges.

The Bill’s Specifications

  • The proposed legislation aims to strengthen India-US defence ties by include India in this arrangement, allowing for the transfer of defence equipment with minimal regulatory intervention.
  • The action follows a suggestion from a House of Representatives committee on China to include India in the club.

India’s Reaction

  • The proposed pattern does not applicable to India, according to India’s External Affairs Minister, who expressed appreciation for the sentiment but clarified that it was not appropriate for the country.
  • The Biden administration understands the distinction between India and the proposed framework.

Reasons for India’s Rejection

  • For the following reasons, India is unlikely to join ‘NATO-Plus’:
  • Non-aligned foreign policy: India has long adopted a non-aligned foreign policy, emphasising strategic autonomy and avoiding formal military alliances.
  • Regional relationships: Rather of joining broad-based military alliances, India wants to form strategic partnerships with countries in the Indo-Pacific area based on shared interests.
  • Unique security difficulties: Because India has specific security challenges in its region, it tailors its defence priorities appropriately, rendering a broad military alliance unsuitable.
  • Diverse foreign policy goals: India pursues a multifaceted foreign policy strategy, concentrating on goals other than security alliances, such as economic cooperation and climate change.
  • Provoking China: India wants to manage its relationship with China pragmatically, avoiding acts that could aggravate tensions, making membership in a US-led military alliance potentially provocative.
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