From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : Paper 2- Diversification of security partnerships
For the first time, the prime ministers of Australia, Japan, and New Zealand as well as the president of South Korea participated in a NATO summit.
How Ukraine war revived NATO
- More than a decade ago — in 2010 — when NATO agreed on a strategic doctrine, it was discussing it with its Russian partners.
- There was no reference to China in the 2010 strategic concept.
- At that time, the West was trying to deepen ties with Russia and build expansive economic cooperation with China
- In unveiling a new strategic conception for the alliance in the wake of the war in Ukraine, NATO has declared Russia “the most significant and direct threat to Allies’ security and to peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area”.
- Not ignoring the threat from China: NATO has declared that China’s “stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security and values.”
- The last few months have seen a closing of ranks in NATO that is now determined to cope with the Russian threat.
- Germany — which has long sought good political and commercial relations with Russia — has agreed to raise its defence spending and do more for European security.
- Sweden and Finland have ended their historic neutrality and decided to join NATO.
- The US is doubling down on its military commitments to Europe.
- The last few decades of peace and prosperity in Europe and Asia had enormously increased the influence of Russia and China in their neighbourhoods.
- But the imperial ambitions of both — rooted in a profound misreading of their leverage — have produced a massive geopolitical backlash.
- Consolidation of old alliances: Rather than sharpen the contradiction between the US and its regional allies, Russian and Chinese actions have helped consolidate old alliances and gave birth to new security coalitions.
Why small European countries seek alliances and how it applies to Asia as well
- Small countries seek alliances when their fears of more powerful neighbours become acute.
- Russia’s invasion has sent countries on Moscow’s western flank looking for NATO cover.
- Most Central European states don’t want to rely purely on a European response to the Russian challenge.
- They suspect France and Germany are more likely to accommodate Moscow at their expense than stand up to Russia.
- For the Central Europeans, it is the US that offers a real balance against Russia.
- It should not be too difficult for India to understand why some Asian countries are turning to NATO.
- After all, India’s own turn to the Quad was a direct consequence of Chinese actions on the disputed bilateral frontier.
How China’s expansionist policies are reshaping Asian security landscape
- Way back in 2007 — when India conducted a mere joint naval exercise with the US, Japan, Australia and Singapore — Beijing called it a precursor to an “Asian NATO”.
- Australia and New Zealand are a bit further away but are deeply tied to the Chinese economy.
- For those like Japan, who face a direct threat from China, “Ukraine could well be about the future of Asian security”.
- What has happened in case of Ukraine created fear in Asian, at a moment when China has become so much more powerful than its neighbours.
- Improving national capability: Creation of more sophisticated national military capabilities has been the first priority of some of Beijing’s neighbours.
- Resolution of differences: Resolving mutual differences and strengthening security cooperation — for example between Japan and South Korea — has been another.
- Alliance with US: Boosting bilateral alliances with the US is yet another.
- Diversification of security partnership: Even as nations in the region reboot ties with the US, Asia is also seeking to diversify its security partnerships.
- Engagement with Europe: This has led to greater Asian engagement with Europe as well as the creation of new Indo-Pacific regional institutions – including the Quad, and the AUKUS.
Thanks to the egregious expansionism of Russia and China, the strategic integration of the Asian and European geopolitical theatres has now begun. Whether they like it or not, all countries in Europe and Asia will have to deal with the consequences.