Saturday, June 3, 2023

NATO membership not considered for Indo-Pacific: Julianne Smith

NEW DELHI: United States Permanent Representative to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Julianne Smith, said that membership is not being considered for the Indo-Pacific as the alliance is Euro-Atlantic.

“Membership is not something we have considered in the Indo-Pacific. The alliance is a Euro-Atlantic alliance and has no plans of expanding into a broader global military alliance,’’ said Smith when asked whether India was being considered for membership. Smith was addressing a virtual press briefing on Friday.

“India plays a crucial role in a free and open Indo-Pacific,’’ she added.

The US has continuously acknowledged India’s role and position in the Indo-Pacific and has also spoken about more collaborative efforts – to counter China, extend maritime information and conduct military exercises.

Smith also said that `doors were open for India in terms of engagement – should India want to engage with them. However, she reiterated that India would not be included or invited to the NATO ministerial.

“NATO is more than happy to engage in other forums. We would be willing anytime to sit down, should India desire to,’’ Smith added when questioned on NATO India engagement.

NATO is open to more engagement with India- if India takes interest in pursuing that, she added.

“We welcome what India has been able to do for the people of Ukraine, the humanitarian assistance and appreciate calls coming from India to end the war,’’ she added.

India, unlike the US and Europe, prefers the word conflict and not war when it comes to Ukraine. PM Modi’s phrase that this is not the era for war, has been widely repeated and quoted.

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