The fallout of Putin helping make NATO ‘great again’

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Source- The post is based on the article “The fallout of Putin helping make NATO ‘great again’” published in “The Hindu” on 11th May 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- International relations

News- NATO has added Finland as its 31st member in April 2023. Sweden will become a member eventually.

What are the changes happening in relationship dynamics between Russia and Europe and what are its implications?

First, managing relations with Russia has never been easy for the European Union. There are differences among member-states.

Some European countries such as Germany and France had a soft corner for Russia. Some Baltic states such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were in favour of treading a cautious path.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has deteriorated the security situation in Europe. It has given a blow to the EU’s image. Russia’s actions have now united European countries more than ever before.

Nordic countries may face a standoff with Russia is the Arctic region. It has received little attention till now. But, due to climate change and prospects of harnessing untapped oil, gas and mineral resources, it is receiving wide attention.

Apart from the United States, Canada, and Russia, the Nordic countries are members of the Arctic Council. They have a direct stake in Arctic affairs.

There have been localised confrontations between Russia and other actors here. NATO membership for the Nordic countries has brought a new geo-strategic dimension to the Arctic’s future.

For Russia, cohabitation, rather than confrontation, with NATO was an option. But, its military action has changed everything. It has triggered a NATO expansion in the Nordic and has complicated the security landscape and created more frontiers.

There is more justification for NATO’s existence now. Many countries now see their secure future in NATO.

What will be the implications of these developments for India?

First, India is unlikely to help Moscow in maintaining the balance of power to counter NATO. Whereas Russia may count on China for support. It will bring the two countries closer, strategically and militarily. It may not be in India’s interest.

Second, in recent years, the Nordic region has become strategically important for India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Copenhagen to participate in the Second India-Nordic Summit in May 2022, and underlined India’s deep interest in cooperation. This region now coming under a NATO umbrella will complicate India’s strategic choices.

Third, India has observer status in the Arctic Council. It pursues an Arctic Policy to promote multi-level cooperation. China is claiming itself as a ‘Near Arctic State’. Its partnership with Russia in this region and Finland’s NATO membership, may lead to the Arctic’s militarisation. It will affect the interests of all actors including India.

India’s global actor role will be tested in view of the new European security architecture led by NATO and contested by Russia.

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