Speaking about NATO and strengthening ties with South Asia and the Indo-Pacific, Julianne Smith, US Ambassador to NATO, said NATO was ready to engage more with India if it was interested. Although the ambassador stressed that there are currently no plans by the alliance to expand this broader global military alliance.
“NATO is open to more engagement if India seeks it. NATO currently has 40 different partners around the world and each individual partnership is different. Different countries come to the door looking for different levels of political engagement, and sometimes countries are more interested in it. Work on Questions of interoperability and standardization. So, it varies. But the message that has already been sent to India is that NATO is definitely open to more engagement with India, if that country is interested in pursuing that,” Julianne Smith said in a virtual press conference.
“Membership is not something we’ve really considered with anyone in the Indo-Pacific or Asia-Pacific. The alliance remains the Euro-Atlantic military alliance. Its door is open to the region. But there are no plans by the coalition to expand this into a broader global military alliance.”
Furthermore, speaking about the NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting, which will be held from 4 to 5 April 2023 at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, the Ambassador said “At this point, we do not want to invite them (India) to NATO Ministers until we know more about their interest in engaging broader alliance.
“Regarding the ministerial meeting next week, the 4 countries that I mentioned (Australia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Japan), are four countries that have already established formal partnerships with the Alliance over many years. And they have worked closely with NATO on security challenges. These are The relationship continues. We are working to strengthen these relationships. These are four countries that joined us at the summit last year in Madrid,” Smith said.
“In terms of the future with India, I think NATO’s door is open in terms of engagement if India is interested. But we don’t want at this stage to invite them to the NATO ministers’ meeting until we know more about their interest in participating in the alliance more broadly.”
Appreciating India’s role in the Russian-Ukrainian war, the envoy said she was grateful for the humanitarian assistance that India was able to provide to the country, and she appreciated India’s call for an immediate end to the war in Ukraine.
“We in both NATO and the United States, we welcome what India has been able to do for the people of Ukraine. We are very grateful for the humanitarian assistance that India has been able to provide which is so critical right now and those needs are growing. Certainly, we appreciate the calls coming in from India for some kind of “An immediate end to the war in Ukraine. That’s important. And we’re in constant contact with India about what we can do together to hold Russia accountable and we’ve done that and we’ve worked with it and India has talked to India many times since Russia started this war inside Ukraine.”
“The United States and India do not always share exactly the same political approach, but we do share a commitment to upholding the rules-based order and ensuring that key principles, particularly with regard to sovereignty and territorial integrity, are respected and respected. I think this is the most important part of our relationship,” she added.
Speaking of NATO’s transformation, the envoy highlighted how the alliance has begun to mention the Asia-Pacific region and the Indo-Pacific region in some of its strategic documents.
“NATO has really shifted in a very noticeable way in terms of how it does outreach and engagement with its partners in the Indo-Pacific. If you go back 5-6 or 7 years, you have an alliance that didn’t necessarily have a rich agenda with the countries of the Indo-Pacific region. In recent years, what NATO has begun to do is include mention of the Asia-Pacific region and the Indo-Pacific region first and foremost in some of its strategic documents.” .
“This is the first time that the Alliance has recognized the importance of focusing on the People’s Republic of China as a challenge to the Alliance and why it is important for NATO Allies to strengthen and deepen their relationship with partners in the region and NATO has just done so. We are bringing our friends from the Indo-Pacific at NATO Headquarters to the ministerial level, It is what we call the North Atlantic Council at Summits so that we can learn from our partners regarding their experiences and security challenges.”
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by the NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)
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