India has recently rejected a proposal from President Joe Biden to join NATO Plus as a more established democracy. India clarified on Thursday that it has no plans to join the NATO, which is dominated by the West. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar stated that the military alliance is “not suitable for India” during a press conference in New Delhi on the conclusion of the administration led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
NATO describes itself as a military alliance between 31 members, 29 of whom are from Europe and two from North America. Its principal objective is to use political and military measures to ensure the freedom and security of its members. Weeks prior to India’s critical comments, a significant Congressional Committee had suggested incorporating India in NATO Plus to strengthen it.
Jaishankar, however, rejected the idea, claiming that “NATO template doesn’t apply to India.” It is important to note that the suggestion came from America before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip there.
NATO Plus is an extension of NATO that includes countries outside the North Atlantic region, such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Israel. It is a security arrangement that aims to boost global defense cooperation by bringing NATO and five aligned nations together. The United States government designates its close allies as Major non-NATO allies (MNNA) if they have strategic working relationships with the US.
While the US has been trying to persuade India to support sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, India has not condemned its old Cold War ally. Historically, India has maintained neutrality in great-power struggles and has been reluctant to turn against Russia, which it relies on for military equipment and energy exports. Despite the US seeking a strategic partnership with India over the past decade, their relationship remains uncertain and shallow.