New Delhi: While the top international peace organisations are condemning Russia’s ‘full scale invasion’ of Ukraine and are conducting emergency meetings amid the ongoing war, N.A.T.O has become the centre of world politics once again.
In view of this sudden face-off, member countries of N.A.T.O are scheduled to hold a meeting on Saturday 25 at 1:30 am late night as per Indian time to communicate its decision to the Russia, asking for a de-escalation and ending the war.
All of this started after Russia had asked for assurances from Ukraine that it would not join the group’s defence alliance and had demanded that they do not expand any further east. However, the West rejected Russia’s demand, stating that any independent country is free to join the defence alliance.
Although, western leaders – including President Joe Biden – did offer negotiations on NATO’s positioning within Europe. But what exactly is the purpose of NATO and which countries are a member, will be discussed in this article:
What is N.A.T.O
N.A.T.O stand for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and was established in the aftermath of World War-II. The purpose of the organisation is that of a collective security to its member states.This means that if a member state is threatened by an external country, a mutual defense will be given in response.
This international organisation was founded way back in March 1947, when France and the United Kingdom signed the ‘Treaty of Dunkirk’ to create an alliance in the event that Germany of the Soviet Union attack.
This treaty was expanded over the next few years, eventually incorporating more countries in the North Atlantic Treaty – also known as the Washington Treaty – which was signed in April 1949.
N.A.T.O has intervened in conflicts such as that seen in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo and Libya.
Member countries of N.A.T.O
There are currently 30 member states of NATO, with 3 aspiring states.
The 12 founding states, who signed the initial 1949 treaty, are:
Greece and Turkey joined the alliance in 1952, with Spain joining in 1982.
West Germany joined in 1955, with East Germany assimilating into the alliance upon the reunification of Germany in 1990.
Since 1997, NATO has expanded east to include more countries such as:
The most recent additions to the alliance are Montenegro in 2017 and North Macedonia in 2020.
The three countries who are currently classed as ‘aspiring members’ are Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia and Ukraine.
N.A.T.O currently allows any country to join its ranks, with the group saying that they have an “open door policy”.
The groups states on their website: “Any European country in a position to further the principles of the Washington Treaty and contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area can become a member of the Alliance at the invitation of the North Atlantic Council.
“Countries aspiring for N.A.T.O membership are also expected to meet certain political, economic and military goals in order to ensure that they will become contributors to Alliance security as well as beneficiaries of it.”
Who is the leader of N.A.T.O
The N.A.T.O organisation is headed by former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who took up the role of Secretary General in 2014.
Admiral Rob Bauer of the Royal Netherlands Navy serves at the Chairman of the Nato Military Committee.
The alliance’s headquarters are based in Brussels, Belgium.