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NATO’s new strategic concept  poses serious strategic questions for India 

3/07/2022 at 10:57 AM

Arun Joshi

NATO’s new doctrine on its security in which it sees Russia and China as bigger threats than ever before  and the pledge to counter these with all its might multiplies challenges

Please find a piece as to how NATO’s new aggressive declaration, made at Madrid, has

Northern Atlantic Treaty Organisation in its declaration in the Spanish capital Madrid on Wednesday came out with a  new and aggressive doctrine for its security against Russia and China,  and a closer look at its contents reveals wider implications for India in the given global situation. NATO’s doctrine lays out newer challenges for India, how to steer out of the hostilities characterizing increased hostilities between West – China and  Russia axis. India’s strategic interests, in both cases, face increased challenges.

ATO’s intensified aggressive stand against Russia and  China has been amplified against the backdrop of the  Russian invasion of  Ukraine and the catastrophic images wrought by it for the people of Ukraine and also for the rest of the world- oil prices have shot up,  global oil prices have shot up, inflation is going through the roof, economies are tottering.

The Declaration  stated: “   The Russian Federation is the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area..” While terming the Russian act as terrorism posing a “ direct threat to the security of our populations, and to international stability and prosperity. ,  the Alliance pledged a determined resolve “ to counter Russian threats and respond to its hostile actions and to fight terrorism, in a manner consistent with international law.”.

Turning its focus on China, which has allied with Russia in the post-Ukraine war world order for Moscow and Beijing have joined hands in resisting the West’s pressure, the NATO declaration said that it is confronted with the threats in cyber, space, and hybrid and other asymmetric threats, and by the malicious use of emerging and disruptive technologies.  In this regard, she said, “  We face systemic competition from those, including the People’s Republic of China, who challenge our interests, security, and values and seek to undermine the rules-based international order.

“This is a sort of paradox for India in the international scenario. Russia is a long-time ally and it has stood by Delhi in difficult times in the past. Moscow had vetoed several anti-India moves at the United  Nations Security Council, particularly during the Indo-Pak wars. India has reciprocated the Russian stand by not condemning its action against Ukraine, though  America and many in the  West wanted it to join them in condemning the  Russian war against Ukraine at the UNSC, where India is a non-permanent member, and at the United Nations General Assembly. India has abstained. India continues to import oil from Russia at cheaper rates and has kept the oil prices within the affordable limits of consumers.

NATO’s revised doctrine, in which it termed the Russian act as a “ significant and direct threat to peace and stability in the  Euro- Atlantic area “, and its pledge to counter the same will complicate the world situation. India, as such, is in no position to challenge NATO’s new stance, for the West has its own interests. It pursues these with added vigor as it deems fit in the changing situations. It is also part of the history that not long ago, to be specific, before  Russia launched a war against  Ukraine, it was seen as an ally of  Washington in the post-cold war era. It was believed by  Americans, who had emerged as the sole superpower in the post-1990 world order, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, which followed the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the spread of democracy in eastern  Europe. The February 24 invasion of  Ukraine has changed the whole notion and attitude. If NATO’s latest stand translates into the widening of the conflict, which may hit the strategic interests and assets of  Russia, especially its export of oil , India would be in a difficult spot. Delhi will have to speed up, if it has not it already ,  its diplomatic efforts to strike reconciliation through diplomacy and dialogue. India cannot afford to sit and adopt wait and watch mode.

Though India is pursuing its dialogue and diplomacy approach with China,  it cannot differ much from the NATO stand with regard to  Beijing. An inescapable fact that India knows is that China has been aggressive and continues to pursue its aggressive designs against  India, and the rest of the world.  China is taking advantage of the challenges emerging for Washington, and a weakened America weighed in by the internal conflicts, racial violence, and migration crisis, is a geostrategic advantage for  Beijing. India is aware of this, but it cannot overlook another damning fact that the costs of mobilizing the military and equipment are rising day by day. Eastern Ladakh is a theatre where India is facing the toughest situation in decades and is struggling to get out of this standoff. The end of more than two years of the standoff, as and when it comes about through no timeline is in sight,  would not remove all the doubts. China has already imposed a big military cost on India. But again, aligning with NATO  on this issue is not an option for Delhi. It cannot be selective in its approach to the Madrid declaration- supporting one part and opposing the other. This is not a striking balanced approach that will serve  India’s interests.

India will have to steer through these complexities  in a  manner which keeps its interests in  tact without annoying the new  blocs and strategies emerging across the global map. India is in need of its own doctrine, in which dialogue and diplomacy requires more meat.

About the Author:

Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and The Tribune. He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with those of prameyanews.com.

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