Context:

Foreign troops under NATO command will withdraw from Afghanistan in coordination with a U.S. pull-out, after Germany said it would match American plans to leave after two decades of war.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (International Groupings, Foreign policies affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)
  2. Important Points regarding NATO
  3. India and NATO – Non-NATO Ally Status
  4. About the coordinated withdrawal of troops

About North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

  • The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is an international organisation for collective security by the United States, Canada, and several Western European nations to provide collective security against the Soviet Union in 1949, in support of the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington.
  • NATO’s Headquarters are located in Evere, Brussels, Belgium.
  • Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 30 member states with North Macedonia being the most recent member state to be added to NATO in March 2020.
  • An additional 20 countries participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs.
Canada and NATO – 70 Years of Involvement - HillNotes

Important Points regarding NATO

  • A key provision of the treaty, the so-called Article 5, states that if one member of the alliance is attacked in Europe or North America, it is to be considered an attack on all members. That effectively put Western Europe under the “nuclear umbrella” of the US.
  • From a political perspective: NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.
  • The North Atlantic Council (NAC) is the body which has effective governance authority and powers of decision in NATO, consisting of member states’ permanent representatives or representatives at higher level (ministers of foreign affairs or defence, or heads of state or government).
  • All 30 allies have an equal say, the Alliance’s decisions must be unanimous and consensual, and its members must respect the basic values that underpin the Alliance, namely democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.
  • NATO has an integrated military command structure but very few forces or assets are exclusively its own. Most forces remain under full national command and control until member countries agree to undertake NATO-related tasks.

India and NATO – Non-NATO Ally Status

  • Non-NATO Ally Status is a designation given by the United States government to close allies that have strategic working relationships with the US Armed Forces but are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • While the status does not automatically include a mutual defense pact with the United States, it still confers a variety of military and financial advantages that otherwise are not obtainable by non-NATO countries.
  • The move brings India on par with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies and countries such as Israel and South Korea for increasing defence cooperation.
  • Increased cooperation between the United States and India in the areas of humanitarian assistance, counter-terrorism, counter-piracy and maritime security in the Indian Ocean.

About the coordinated withdrawal of troops

  • Non-U.S. forces from mainly NATO countries, also from Australia, New Zealand and Georgia, outnumber the U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but still rely on U.S. air support, planning and leadership for their training mission.
  • An integral part of NATO’s current mission, Resolute Support, is to train and equip Afghan security forces fighting the Islamist Taliban, which was ousted from power by a U.S. invasion in late 2001 and has since waged an insurgency.
  • With non-U.S. troop numbers reaching as high as 40,000 in 2008, Europe, Canada and Australia have moved in tandem with the U.S., also providing long-term funding to rebuild Afghanistan despite the resurgence of Taliban-led violence and endemic official corruption in the country.
  • A key reason for a coordinated withdrawal is the fact that NATO relies on U.S. airlift capabilities and shipping to move valuable equipment back home out of landlocked Afghanistan.
  • NATO also wants to avoid any hardware falling into the hands of militants, as happened after the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

-Source: The Hindu

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