- Formed in 1949 with the signing of the Washington Treaty, NATO is a security alliance of 30 countries from North America and Europe.
- Established in the Cold War as a bulwark against Soviet aggression, NATO’s fundamental goal is to safeguard the Allies’ freedom and security by political and military means.
- Article 5 of the Washington Treaty states that an attack against one Ally is an attack against all — is at the core of the Alliance, a promise of collective defence.
- Article 4 of the treaty ensures consultations among Allies on security matters of common interest, which have expanded from a narrowly defined Soviet threat to the critical mission in Afghanistan, as well as new threats to security such as cyber attacks, and global threats such as terrorism and piracy that affect the Alliance and its global network of partners.
- A “NATO decision” is the expression of the collective will of all 30 member countries since all decisions are taken by consensus.
- At present, NATO has 30 members. In 1949, there were 12 founding members of the Alliance: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. The other member countries are: Greece and Turkey (1952), Germany (1955), Spain (1982), the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland (1999), Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia (2004), Albania and Croatia (2009), Montenegro (2017) and North Macedonia (2020).
- NATO’s Headquarters are located in Brussels, Belgium,
Why in News?
- The North Atlantic Treaty Organization held its 31st summit in Brussels recently.
- Addressing the summit, U.S. President Joe Biden told fellow NATO leaders the defence of Europe, Turkey and Canada was a “sacred obligation” for the United States, in a marked shift from his predecessor Donald Trump’s threats to withdraw from the military alliance.
- Mr. Biden sought to rally Western allies to support a U.S. strategy to contain China’s military rise as well as showing unity in the face of Russian aggression.