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The Implications of Finland’s NATO Membership

  • Finland’s admission to NATO is a major setback for Russia and President Vladimir Putin, as the country has long been neutral in Moscow’s dispute with the West. The move has doubled Finland’s border with Russia and has consequences for global Arctic governance.

Finland’s accession to NATO

  • Finland’s recent admission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a major development with strategic implications for Russia and the Arctic region.
  • Finland has typically remained neutral in the long-running conflict between Russia and the West.
  • Its admission to NATO is viewed as a significant setback for Russia and President Vladimir Putin, who has used NATO’s greater proximity to Russia’s borders as justification for aggression against Ukraine.

What exactly is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization?

  • The North Atlantic Treaty, also known as the Washington Treaty, states that the treaty’s parties aim to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic region.
  • The treaty states’ signatories affirm their belief in the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and express their wish to live in peace with all people and governments.

Background

  • Finlandisation: Due to Finland’s Cold War neutrality, the term “Finlandisation” entered the global diplomatic lexicon, referring to a small nation’s political deference to its bigger neighbour.
  • Russia’s neighbourhood policies: Over the last decade, many of Finland’s minor European neighbours have been subjected to Russia’s tough regional policies.
  • The invasion of Ukraine has confirmed their worst fears, and they are seeking security from the United States and NATO.
  • Remedies by Russia: Unsurprisingly, Moscow has promised remedies in response to Finland’s admission to NATO.
  • Encroachment on national interests: A Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, described NATO’s inclusion of Finland as an encroachment on our security and Russia’s national interests.
  • Moscow will keep an eye out for any NATO military movements in Finland.

Why is Russia upset about NATO?

  • NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe is viewed by Russia as a threat to its security and influence in the area. Russia sees the alliance’s move to admit former Soviet republics and Warsaw Pact members as a clear challenge to its strategic interests.
  • Military drills: Russia has also voiced concern about NATO drills in the area, which it regards as a provocation and a show of force. Russia has also criticised NATO’s move to station troops and equipment in Eastern Europe.
  • Russia has been especially critical of NATO’s missile defence system, which it views as a threat to its own nuclear deterrence capabilities. Russia claims that the system is intended to neutralise its strategic weapons, undermining global strategic security.
  • Russia has accused NATO of meddling in the affairs of Ukraine and Georgia, two former Soviet countries seeking closer ties with the West. NATO’s support for these nations is viewed by Russia as an attempt to encircle and contain it.

What this means for India and the Arctic area

  • A powerful blow to the Western coalition in the Nordic region: Finland has kept a small but capable armed force that is well-trained and resilient, and its membership in NATO gives the Western alliance a real punch in the Nordic region.
  • As the Arctic ice cover melts due to global warming, the high north has become commercially appealing as well as geopolitically contested.
  • India is an Arctic Council observer: India is an Arctic Council observer, which aims to promote broad cooperation in the polar north.
  • The militarization of the high north appears unavoidable as Finland and Sweden transition from neutrals to Western allies and China increases its profile in the Arctic in collaboration with Russia.
  • Global governance: This could make global governance of the Arctic area more difficult.

Conclusion

Finland’s admission to NATO is a major step forward in the ongoing conflict between Russia and the West. The move has implications for the Arctic region, which is gaining international notice as the Arctic ice cap melts. As a regional stakeholder, India must carefully watch developments and prepare for any geopolitical ramifications.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/finland-joins-nato-in-major-blow-to-russia-over-ukraine-war/article66700201.ece
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