North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) - A Brief Overview

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed in 1949. This article talks about NATO and its importance for the IAS Exam.

International organisations and groupings are an important part of the International Relations section of the General Studies paper-2 in the UPSC Syllabus. International relations is a very dynamic part and is crucial for multiple papers in Prelims and Mains. Students preparing for UPSC 2020 and other Government Exams must be aware of the topic.

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What is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)?

  • NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which is also called the North Atlantic Alliance.
  • It is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949.
  • The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by a non-member external party. 
  • NATO’s headquarters are located at Boulevard Leopold III in the city of Brussels, Belgium, where the Supreme Allied Commander resides.

Also read, the G20 Summit 2020 and India’s role in it.

Why was NATO formed?

The organisation was formed as a means to ensure collective security in western Europe. Even though World War 2 had come to an end, the deteriorating relations between two former allies, the United States and the USSR would eventually lead to the Cold War. The USSR sought to expand its influence in Europe through the spread of communism, while the US saw the ideology of the USSR as a threat to its way of life. Hence it saw the need to form NATO.

NATO Members

NATO has 30 member countries with Montenegro as its newest member. It became a part of NATO in 2017.

NATO Member Countries
Albania (2009) Greece (1952) Poland (1999)
Belgium (1949) Hungary (1999) Portugal (1949)
Bulgaria (2004) Iceland (1949) Romania (2004)
Canada (1949) Italy (1949) Slovakia (2004)
Croatia (2009) Latvia (2004) Slovenia (2004)
Czech Republic (1999) Lithuania (2004) Spain (1982)
Denmark (1949) Luxembourg (1949) Turkey (1952)
Estonia (2004) Montenegro (2017) The United Kingdom (1949)
France (1949) Netherlands (1949) The United States (1949)
Germany (1955) Norway (1949)

NATO member countries on world map

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NATO – Latest Updates (2020)

  1. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary-general, stressed that 2020 would be the sixth consecutive year in which total defence spending by European allies and Canada would rise, this time by 4.3 per cent in real terms. 
  2. Defence ministers of ten Nato allies have launched a multinational initiative to explore a ground-based air defence (GBAD) modular solution. The project is part of the expanding multinational High Visibility Projects (HVPs) portfolio, which is supported by Nato to deliver defence capability for alliance security.It will be able to counter very short range, short-range and medium-range threats.
  3. Russian recently gave out a statement that they are open for constructive work on minimizing the negative consequences of the collapse of the INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty on the basis of the principles of equal and indivisible security and the respect for the balance of the parties’ interests.
  4. NATO allies France and Turkey traded angry recriminations as international tensions mounted over the fiercest clashes between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces since the mid-1990s.Some of Turkey‘s NATO allies are increasingly alarmed by Ankara’s stance on Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region inside Turkey‘s close ally Azerbaijan that is run by ethnic Armenians but is not recognised by any country as an independent republic.

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Multiple Choice Question

Consider the following statements

  1. NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization which is also called the North Atlantic Alliance. It is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4 April 1949.NATO’s headquarters are located at Boulevard Leopold III in the city of Brussels, Belgium, where the Supreme Allied Commander resides.
  2. In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev rose to become the leader of the USSR. He initiates capitalist reforms known as perestroika and glasnost. He also let the Berlin Wall crumble on October 30, 1989. Finally, in 1991, the Soviet Union was disbanded and new countries Russia and others emerged as independent nations.
  3. The NAM is an international forum of 120 developing countries that believe in the idea of non-alignment with the major power blocs. It was established in 1961 in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia under the leadership of the then Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, President of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser and the President of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito.
  4. The most recent member state to be added to NATO was North Macedonia on 27 March 2020. NATO currently recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Ukraine as aspiring members. An additional 20 countries participate in NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70% of the global total.

Choose the correct answer from the below-given options

A) All the above statements are true.

B) Only statements 2, 3, and 4 are true.

C) Only statements 1, 3, and 4 are true.

D) None of the above statements are true.

 

Answer: A

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