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NATO Plus: Why India is Opting Out?

India has a long history of non-alignment and strategic autonomy.




In this post, we will explore the reasons behind India’s refusal to join NATO Plus, providing a detailed analysis of the factors involved.


The geopolitical landscape has witnessed significant shifts in recent years, with nations forming strategic alliances to promote their security interests. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance primarily focused on European and North American nations, has played a crucial role in shaping international security policies. However, India’s decision to refrain from joining NATO Plus, an expanded version of NATO, has raised eyebrows and sparked debates.

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India’s Stand on Joining NATO Plus:

India has recently clarified that it has no intention of joining NATO plus, a security arrangement that brings together NATO and five aligned nations – Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea – to boost global defence cooperation. This statement came in response to a recommendation from a US Congressional Committee that suggested including India in the NATO plus framework to counter China’s aggression in the Indo-Pacific region.

India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, said that the NATO template does not apply to India and that India is capable of countering Chinese aggression on its own. He also said that India values its strategic autonomy and does not want to be part of any military alliance that is not suitable for its interests.

There are six main reasons why India will never join NATO Plus or any other US-led mutual security alliance:

Historical Non-Aligned Stance:

India’s decision to abstain from joining NATO Plus can be traced back to its long-standing policy of non-alignment. Since gaining independence from British colonial rule in 1947, India has pursued an independent foreign policy, avoiding formal alliances with any major power bloc. The non-aligned movement, championed by India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, sought to preserve India’s autonomy and promote peaceful coexistence among nations. This historical perspective shapes India’s cautious approach towards joining military alliances such as NATO Plus.

Strategic Autonomy:

India has consistently emphasized the importance of maintaining strategic autonomy. As a diverse nation with multiple security challenges, India prefers to retain flexibility in its foreign policy decisions. By abstaining from joining NATO Plus, India seeks to safeguard its ability to forge independent partnerships and pursue its national interests without being bound by the obligations and constraints of a military alliance.

Multipolar World Order:

India envisions a multipolar world order in which power is not concentrated in the hands of a few dominant nations or alliances. With its emerging global influence, India aims to play a pivotal role in shaping this multipolar system by engaging with various regional and global organizations rather than aligning exclusively with one military alliance. This approach allows India to maintain balanced relationships with different powers, fostering stability and diversity in international relations.

Regional Security Dynamics:

India’s decision also reflects its unique regional security dynamics. While NATO Plus predominantly focuses on Europe and North America, India faces a distinct set of challenges in its immediate neighbourhood. With ongoing territorial disputes, cross-border terrorism, and security concerns from neighbouring countries, India’s security priorities primarily revolve around its regional environment. Hence, joining NATO Plus, which primarily focuses on non-regional challenges, may not align with India’s immediate security needs.

NATO Plus: Why India is Opting Out?

Strategic Partnerships:

India has been actively engaging in strategic partnerships with various countries across the globe. These partnerships aim to enhance defence cooperation, technology transfer, and economic ties. Notable examples include India’s partnerships with the United States, Russia, France, Japan, and Australia, among others. By forging bilateral and multilateral partnerships, India seeks to leverage its global influence while maintaining the freedom to pursue its strategic interests based on specific regional and global contexts.

Diverse Security Challenges:

India faces a broad range of security challenges, including terrorism, border disputes, maritime security, and asymmetric threats. These challenges require a comprehensive and multifaceted approach that addresses both traditional and non-traditional security issues. While NATO Plus primarily focuses on conventional military threats, India’s security concerns demand a broader spectrum of cooperation and collaboration with countries in different regions.


India’s decision to refuse to join NATO Plus stems from a combination of historical, strategic, and regional factors. India’s commitment to maintaining strategic autonomy, promoting a multipolar world order, and addressing its unique regional security challenges influence its approach towards military alliances. By forging diverse strategic partnerships and pursuing an independent foreign policy, India aims to protect its national interests while contributing to global peace and stability.

NATO Plus: Why India is Opting Out?

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