Sweden’s attempt to join NATO cleared a major hurdle after Turkey’s parliament supported its membership.
GS II: International Relations
Dimensions of the Article:
- Why Sweden Wants to Join NATO?
- Turkey’s Opposition to Sweden’s Bid
- What Sweden Brings to NATO?
- What is NATO?
Why Sweden Wants to Join NATO?
- Centuries of Neutrality: Sweden maintained neutrality for two centuries, avoiding wars, including the World Wars and the Cold War.
- EU Membership: While joining the European Union and collaborating with NATO, Sweden initially avoided NATO membership.
- Shift in Neutrality: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine compelled Sweden to reconsider its neutrality stance, leading to a 2022 NATO membership application.
- Public Opinion: Growing public support in favor of NATO membership prompted the application by both Sweden and Finland.
Turkey’s Opposition to Sweden’s Bid:
- Alleged Soft Stance on Terrorism: Turkey accused Sweden of being lenient towards groups it considers terrorists, especially the Kurdish militant outfit.
- Freedom of Speech Dispute: Sweden’s protection of Quran-burning protests under freedom of speech laws strained relations with Turkey.
- Connection to Fighter Jet Deal: Some experts linked Turkey’s opposition to Sweden’s NATO bid with the US agreeing to sell 40 F-16 fighter jets to Ankara.
What Sweden Brings to NATO?
- Expanded NATO Territory: Sweden’s NATO membership would extend NATO’s presence along most of the Baltic Sea coastline, strategically significant in the proximity to Russia.
- Strategic Bases: The inclusion of Sweden in NATO would provide the alliance with strategic bases close to Russia, enhancing supply lines and defense capabilities.
- Modern Military Assets: Despite a small numerical size, Sweden’s modern and experienced military, along with advanced aircraft and submarine capabilities, would contribute significantly to NATO missions.
What is NATO?
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO, is a political and military alliance of 28 European countries and two countries in North America (United States and Canada).
- It was set up in 1949 by the US, Canada, and several western European nations to ensure their collective security against the Soviet Union.
- It was the US’s first peacetime military alliance outside the western hemisphere.
- Thirty countries are currently members of NATO, which is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
- The headquarters of the Allied Command Operations is near Mons, also in Belgium.
What is important about NATO’s collective defence?
- Members of NATO are committed to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.
- Collective defence lies at the very heart of NATO, “a unique and enduring principle that binds its members together, committing them to protect each other and setting a spirit of solidarity within the Alliance”.
- This is laid out in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, the founding treaty of NATO.
Article 5 reads: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”
India’s Engagement with NATO
- India has been in contact with NATO at multiple levels since August 2022.
- The first political dialogue between India and NATO occurred in Brussels on December 12, 2019.
- A second round of dialogue was scheduled for 2020 in New Delhi but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- These interactions are part of India’s efforts to engage with different stakeholders on matters of mutual interest.
-Source: Indian Express