India, Nato to hold strategic talks; focus on regional security, China

NEW DELHI : New Delhi is ready to host a uncommon strategic dialogue with the North Atlantic Treaty Group (Nato) centered on regional safety points in a growth with potential world ramifications.

The dialogue is anticipated to be held in early March, mentioned individuals conscious of the matter.

Senior officers from Nato, together with from its coverage planning division, and officers from India’s ministries of defence and exterior affairs are anticipated to take part.

Inside South Asia, the safety alliance of 30 international locations from North America and Europe was current in Afghanistan, the place Nato forces fought for 20 years till the US-led withdrawal in late 2021.

The dialogue will doubtless give attention to a spread of themes, together with the opportunity of a stronger partnership between India and Nato centered on geopolitical challenges within the Indo-Pacific.

“Given the truth that India is more and more multi-aligned, consultations or dialogues with even army alliances like Nato appear okay. The objective of multi-alignment is the preservation of India’s strategic autonomy so New Delhi can discuss to Nato and likewise be part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation with Russia and China,” mentioned Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic research on the Centre for Coverage Analysis.

Media reviews had earlier indicated that India and Nato held a political dialogue in 2019 aimed toward increasing cooperation.

The identical reviews, by no means denied, indicated that the dialogue had centred round China, the evolving state of affairs in Afghanistan and terrorism.

However Nato’s prioritization of Russia as a key risk and its relative ambivalence in regards to the safety problem posed by China restricted widespread floor between the 2 sides on the time. This newest spherical of talks happens in a dramatically modified strategic panorama.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan and the escalating risk posed by China to India and different international locations have altered calculations.

“In a dialogue equivalent to this, China goes to be a problem of mutual curiosity provided that India continues to face Chinese language border aggression. Nato may wish to have a greater understanding of the risk India faces and the way China’s expansionist technique operates,” mentioned Chellaney.

This time round, Nato has adopted a extra muscular strategy within the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Beijing’s help for Moscow and its unveiling of a ‘no-limits’ partnership with Russia has hardened Nato’s outlook on the Asian large. Nato’s new Strategic Idea, unveiled in June final yr, squarely addresses the China problem.

“The Folks’s Republic of China’s (PRC) said ambitions and coercive insurance policies problem our pursuits, safety and values. The PRC employs a broad vary of political, financial and army instruments to extend its world footprint and undertaking energy, whereas remaining opaque about its technique, intentions and army build-up. The PRC’s malicious hybrid and cyber operations and its confrontational rhetoric and disinformation goal Allies and hurt Alliance safety,” reads the doc.

“The PRC seeks to manage key technological and industrial sectors, crucial infrastructure, and strategic supplies and provide chains. It makes use of its financial leverage to create strategic dependencies and improve its affect. It strives to subvert the rules-based worldwide order, together with within the house, cyber and maritime domains,” the doc goes on so as to add.

The 2 sides are more likely to search for widespread floor to handle safety challenges within the Indo-Pacific. Lately, particular person European nations just like the UK, Germany and France have stepped up their army footprint within the area. It stays to be seen whether or not this growth could have any penalties for India’s relationship with Russia given Moscow’s acrimonious relationship with Nato. Strategic specialists assume not.

“Whereas India has made clear to Russia that we are going to not take sides on Ukraine with the West, we have now additionally made clear that we are going to proceed our dialogue with the US, Nato and the West on the Indo-Pacific and China. There’s a clear distinction between India and Russia over China,” mentioned Rajesh Rajagopalan, a professor of worldwide politics at Jawaharlal Nehru College. Queries to the ministry of exterior affairs and Nato on Wednesday remained unanswered until press time on Thursday.

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