Speculation About India Joining NATO Is Absolute Nonsense
Colonel Awadhesh Kumar
India is a Non aligned giant of a Nation. Even when it lacked military power, was economically weak and had just started moving onto the path of industrialization, it never joined either of the existing Power Blocs. Today India is already an acknowledged Power in all the fields and moving towards assuming it’s past glory.
So it’s quite amusing to hear international media and as it’s fall out even a part of the Indian media, discussing India becoming a member of the outdated NATO !
The recent NATO summit concluded in Madrid, gave out its new Strategic Concept, with Russia as the usual and China as the new “systemic challenge.” NATO also invited non-NATO members in the Asia-Pacific region to attend the summit, including Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. However it wisely refrained from inviting India. It made a high-profile announcement to increase its involvement in Asia-Pacific affairs and introduced a series of military policies.
After the summit, some Indian media outlets, close associates of Western Media, began discussing that as NATO’s anti-China tirade grows, will India join in? Probably the aim was to build up a chorus. They forget that since 2014 the thinking in Delhi is not through the European or American “ eyes “ but purely through Indian “ NETRA “.
As a matter of fact, though India is a member of QUAD to ensure freedom of Navigation in the Indo Pacific, it has point blank refused to become part of any military bloc to contain China. The Galwan incident in Ladhak has clearly demonstrated that India is fully capable of stopping China in case PLA dares to misbehave. So NATO wisely left out India from inviting her to the NATO summit. India would have definitely given a big snub to NATO.
Since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came into power in 2014, India has substantially demonstrated its independent International policy and adopted a series of policies to pursue its own National interest. India has accelerated its pace of having a equality based friendship with UAE, France, Israel,ASEAN, Japan, Russia, USA, Iran, Saudi Arabia and many others. Over the past 10 years, India has signed multiple security agreements with many countries including USA. However India has not become a military ally or even a quasi military of any country except Bhutan. Also any attack on any BIMSTEC country will be automatically taken as attack on India.
India can be a close partner on many things if the partnership is based on equality. However it can never be a TABAQUI following SHER KHAN ( Jungle Book by Kippling ). Therefore, in addition to the Quad, the Biden administration was forced to create an Anglo-Saxon AUKUS. The US’ strategically knows that India cannot be coerced.
After the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the US and its allies took turns to pressure India, trying to make India take a tougher stance on Russia. The US and its NATO allies have shown their dissatisfaction that India refused to condemn and sanction Russia on the Ukraine issue but they are helpless to coerce India in anyway, except to their own peril.
On the other hand, the Indian is cautious about NATO’s push into the Asia-Pacific. Presently India may not directly oppose such move and there may be the possibility of dialogues and issue-based limited cooperation with NATO. However the day is not far off when it will be the Indian Navy which will be dictating terms in the Indian Icean Region and the Indo Pacific.
Currently, India lacks strategic reach. Therefore Some Indian experts claim that India and NATO can explore joint cooperation positions through regular dialogue mechanisms, exchange views on issues including counter-terrorism and geopolitical situation. Some also say that India can jointly build an Indo-Pacific maritime security alliance with NATO. All this is rubbish. The Europeans cannot be permitted once again what they started in 1500 AD.
In the foreseeable future, India will have very limited cooperation with NATO. India’s friendship with Russia will not change. Also its China policy is very clear. China must resolve the Tibet China border and Indo Tibet border before things can go back to normal.
NATO has been involved in a series of regional conflicts and wars since its establishment. It has failed to manage its relations with Russia and hyped up wars in Europe.
India’s diplomatic strategy will still be to ensure cooperation with both the East and the West, and achieve its dream of a super power in a multipolar framework of strategic independence. India refuses to be a junior partner of any power bloc.