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Stop NATO expansion, Russia tells U.S.

Context:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State that Moscow needed “long-term security guarantees” that would halt NATO’s eastward expansion, Moscow said.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (Important International Groupings)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About NATO
  2. Major pointers regarding NATO
  3. India and NATO – Non-NATO Ally Status
  4. About the recent tussle over Ukraine joining NATO

About 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.

Major pointers 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.

Tensions over Russian border build-up

  • Russia is believed to have amassed a large number of troops along the Russian border with the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. The Donbas region is a conflict zone where Ukraine has been battling Russia-backed separatists.
  • Russia has claimed that this action is in response to the steady eastward expansion of the U.S.-led North Atlantic Organisation (NATO), gradual expansion of military aid pouring into Ukraine from NATO member countries and Ukraine’s recent statement over the Crimea issue.
  • Russia along its western borders is in close proximity with NATO states like Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania. Even former constituents of the erstwhile Soviet Union such as Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia have become NATO members. Georgia and Ukraine are also aspiring to become members of NATO. Ever since Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 and war broke out in eastern Ukraine a month after, bilateral relations between the two countries have been fraught.
  • Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of preparing for an invasion. The U.S. has warned that any such move from Russia would invite some counteraction from it. Russia has, in turn, accused the West of ‘anti-Russia’ hysteria.
  • Tensions have been escalating along the volatile Russia-Ukraine border.

About the recent tussle over Ukraine joining NATO

  • The Russian Foreign Minister told the U.S. diplomatic chief that Moscow wanted a legally binding promise that Ukraine would not be allowed to join NATO and that the bloc would stop its eastward expansion, Moscow said.
  • Russia said that such a move to expand the NATO would force them to take retaliatory measures to straighten out the military-strategic balance.
  • The remarks by Mr. Lavrov came on a day the Kremlin said that Ukraine’s stated goal of retaking Crimea — which Moscow seized in 2014 — amounted to a “direct threat” to Russia.
  • Ukrainian President had said that Crimea was Ukrainian territory and Kiev’s goal was to “liberate” it.
  • Kiev and its Western allies have been sounding the alarm since last month over a fresh Russian troop build-up around Ukraine’s borders and a possible winter invasion. Moscow, which is accused of backing the separatists fighting Kiev, has denied preparing an attack and accuses NATO of raising the temperature.

-Source: The Hindu

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October 2022
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