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NATO Suspends Cold War-Era Treaty 


NATO has officially suspended a Cold War-era security treaty in response to Russia’s withdrawal from the agreement. The Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, signed by most NATO allies in 1990, has seen its members freeze their participation in the pact in light of recent developments.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
  2. What is NATO?

Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE)

  • The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) was signed in November 1990 in Paris.
  • It was established after the fall of the Berlin Wall with the aim of imposing restrictions on conventional arms and equipment.
  • The primary goal of the CFE was to prevent Cold War adversaries from amassing forces that could be swiftly employed in an attack.
  • It sought to decrease the risk of a sudden armed assault and the initiation of major offensive operations in Europe.
  • Key provisions of the treaty included:
    • Imposing comprehensive limits on various categories of conventional military equipment across Europe, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains.
    • Requiring the destruction of surplus weaponry.
    • Eliminating the Soviet Union’s significant numerical advantage in conventional weapons in Europe.
    • Establishing verifiable limits on the categories of conventional military equipment that NATO and the former Warsaw Pact nations could deploy.
    • Enforcing constraints on conventional arms and equipment.
  • The CFE treaty is often referred to as the “cornerstone of European security.”

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

December 2023