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Everything You Need To Know About NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed in 1949. This article talks about NATO and its importance for the IAS Exam


International organisations and groupings are an important part of the International Relations section of the General Studies paper-2 in the UPSC Syllabus. International relations is a very dynamic part and is crucial for multiple papers in Prelims and Mains.


Following the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg announced on 25th February, 2022 that the alliance would be deploying its rapid response force to bolster Ukraine defences. In addition, to this several members such as France and Germany have stepped up in sending arms and ammunition to Ukraine.


Sweden and Finland have considered joining NATO recently. The announcement was met with a harsh response from Russia who threatened military and political consequences if that was to happen. Both Stockholm and Helsinki brushed of Moscow’s warning on the matter.


NATO – A Brief Background

The Treaty of Brussels, signed on 17 March 1948 by Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, and the United Kingdom, is considered the precursor to the NATO agreement. This treaty established a military alliance, later to become the Western European Union


North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed in Washington, DC on 4 April 1949, was a result of the talks for the military alliance. It included the five Treaty of Brussels states, United States, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Three years later, on 18 February 1952, Greece and Turkey also joined


The incorporation of West Germany into the organisation on 9 May 1955 was described as “a decisive turning point in the history of our continent” by Halvard Lange, Foreign Minister of Norway at the time.

One of its immediate results was the creation of the Warsaw Pact, signed on 14 May 1955 by the Soviet Union and its satellite states as a formal response to this event, firmly establishing the two opposing sides of the Cold War


NAME: North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)


MEMBER COUNTRIES: There are 30 member countries as of now. (India is not a member)
Member nations (Year-Wise)


FRANCE (1949)TÜRKIYE (1952)ROMANIA (2004)
ITALY (1949)SPAIN (1982)SLOVENIA (2004)

FUNDAMENTAL ROLE: to guarantee the freedom and security of its member countries by political and military means.


NORTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL: the top political decision-making body within NATO.

MILITARY FORCES: NATO has very few permanent forces of its own. Once members agree, by consensus, to engage in an operation, they contribute forces on a voluntary basis. NATO has an integrated military command structure, allowing the Alliance to implement political decisions that have military.


  • Partnership for Peace:
    Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan
  • Mediterranean Dialogue: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Istanbul Cooperation Initiative: Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates
  • Global partners: Afghanistan, Australia, Colombia, Iraq, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand, Pakistan
  • Other international organisations: principally United Nations, European Union, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
  • Partner countries do not have the same decision-making authority as member countries.

MCQ’s On The Above Article:

1) Which of the following statements about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is/are correct?

  1. It is a military alliance established under the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949.
  2. The members of NATO pledge to defend each other in case of an attack on any member.
  3. The headquarters of NATO is located in Paris, France.
  4. Montenegro is the most recent member to join NATO.

A. 1 and 2 only
B. 1, 2 and 3 only
C. 2 and 4 only
D. 1, 2, 3 and 4


Explanation: Statement 1 is correct – NATO is a military alliance established under the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949. Statement 2 is correct – The members of NATO pledge to defend each other in case of an attack on any member. Statement 3 is incorrect – The headquarters of NATO is located in Brussels, Belgium, not in Paris, France. Statement 4 is correct – Montenegro became the most recent member to join NATO in June 2017.

Therefore, the correct answer is option C – 2 and 4 only.

2) Which of the following countries is/are not a member of NATO?

  1. Switzerland
  2. Finland
  3. Ukraine
  4. Iceland

A. 1 only
B. 2 and 3 only

C. 1 and 3 only

D. 1, 2, and 3 only

Explanation: All of the countries mentioned in the options are European nations, but not all of them are members of NATO. Switzerland is a neutral country and is not a member of NATO, while Finland is not a member of NATO but cooperates with the alliance through the Partnership for Peace program. Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but it has expressed interest in joining the alliance in the past. Iceland is a member of NATO and has been since its inception in 1949.

Therefore, the correct answer is option D – 1, 2, and 3 only.

June 2024