India has clarified that it has no plans to join the Western-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Speaking at a press conference in New Delhi marking the completion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stated that the military alliance is “not suitable for India.” NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance comprising 31 member states – 29 European and two North American – with its primary objective being the protection of its members’ freedom and security through political and military means.
India’s critical stance comes just weeks after a prominent Congressional Committee suggested enhancing NATO Plus by incorporating India into the group. Currently consisting of NATO Plus 5, this security arrangement unites NATO with five aligned nations – Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea – in an effort to strengthen global defense cooperation. Including India would enable smooth intelligence sharing among these countries, allowing India to access cutting-edge military technology more quickly.
Despite these potential benefits, Jaishankar dismissed the proposal, stating, “NATO template doesn’t apply to India.” Notably, this suggestion from the United States emerged shortly before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to the country.
Why India should join NATO?
As per the US perspective, India should join NATO to protect its borders from neighboring China and bolster global security by countering the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) aggressive actions in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Select Committee emphasized that “winning the strategic competition with the Chinese Communist Party and ensuring the security of Taiwan demands the United States strengthen ties to our allies and security partners, including India.” By incorporating India into NATO Plus security arrangements, the US and India could build upon their close partnership to enhance global security and deter CCP aggression across the Indo-Pacific region.
What does India believe?
India, on the other hand, believes that it does not need to join the alliance, as it is capable of countering any Chinese aggression on its own. This is currently possible given the separation between the two countries by the Himalayan region.
Furthermore, China is presently grappling with a looming economic crisis. Recent datashowed a decline in China’s exports and imports, suggesting an economic rebound following the end of anti-virus controls is slowing due to weakened global demand and higher interest rates. China’s global trade surplus has also narrowed.
The US Congressional Committee recommends that the United States “should strengthen the NATO Plus arrangement to include India” and “strengthen diplomatic deterrence by supporting Taiwan’s participation in international organizations.” Additionally, they suggest amending the TAIPEI Act to ensure the US and its allies publicly oppose any attempts by the CCP to manipulate the status of Taiwan’s sovereignty through the misuse of UN Resolution 2758 or the US’ One China Policy.