On June 9, 2023, Subramaniam Jaishankar, the External Affairs minister, said that India has no intention to join NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) led by Western Countries. He stated that joining this Western alliance is not in India’s favour.
NATO is an intergovernmental alliance comprising 31 member states, primarily from Europe and North America, aimed at ensuring freedom and security through military and political cooperation.
India’s stance comes in response to recent recommendations from a Congressional Committee in the United States to strengthen NATO+ (Plus) by including India. NATO Plus is a security arrangement that includes NATO members and five aligned nations, namely; Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Israel, and South Korea to enhance global defence cooperation.
It aims to enable seamless intelligence sharing among these countries, allowing India to access advanced military technology without significant delays. However, India rejected the suggestion by saying that the NATO template does not apply to India. It is important to note that the proposal came ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the USA.
The US believes that India should join NATO to safeguard its borders from the Peoples’ Republic of China and enhance global security in countering Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific Region.
“Winning the strategic competition with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and ensuring the security of Taiwan demands that the US strengthen ties with our allies and security partners including India. Including India in the NATO Plus Security arrangements would build upon the US and India’s close partnership to strengthen global security and deter the aggression of CCP in the Indo-Pacific Region”, the congressional Committee recommended.
Further, the Congressional Committee recommends that “the US strengthen the NATO Plus arrangement to include India. The US must also strengthen diplomatic deterrence by supporting Taiwan’s participation in international organisations and amending the Taipei Act to provide that the US, alongside its allies and partners, should oppose any attempts by the CCP to resolve the status of Taiwan sovereignty by intentionally misusing, misinterpretation and misleading others on the underlying purpose of the Resolution 2758 or the US One China Policy.”
India has rejected the offer because it can counter and tackle China and its aggression on its own. Moreover, the geographical separation between India and China by the Himalayan Region makes it currently impossible to join NATO.
Additionally, India highlights China’s current economic crisis as evidence of declining exports and imports, undermining the argument to counter Chinese aggression. India maintains that it can handle any challenges posed by China independently.
The decision to join NATO is of much geopolitical significance. If India joins NATO, it will commit a huge bunder by upsetting Russia, which is a highly time-tested partner and accounts for more than 80 percent of India’s weapon platforms and defence equipment.
Secondly, it will benefit the Peoples Republic of China. If Russia distances itself from India, the Chinese may formally have another partner, and Thirdly, it may also bring Russia and Pakistan closer to each other.
By joining NATO, India will have access to high technology possessed by the West.
India has signed three powerful agreements with the US, namely LEMOA (Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement), COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement) and BECA (Basic Exchange Agreement). It will ensure better interoperability.
By joining NATO, India will achieve growth leaps and bounds and be several steps close to becoming a superpower and a developed nation. India will also have access to US and Western Naval bases such as Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean Region.