- 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 freedom and security of all its members 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 5 has been invoked only once in NATO history. It happened after the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001, which led the alliance into Afghanistan.
- 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 31 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). Recently, Finland became the 31st member of NATO
- NATO is resourced through the direct and indirect contributions of its members.
- NATO’s Headquarters are located in Brussels, Belgium.
Why in News?
- NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has urged Turkey not to veto Sweden’s bid to join the military alliance.
- In March, Turkey ratified Finland’s bid for membership, and it became NATO’s 31st member in April.
- All 31 member countries must ratify a candidate’s accession protocol for it to join the transatlantic alliance.
- Turkey’s government accuses Sweden of being too lenient on “terrorist” organisations and security threats.