Panel suggests making India part of NATO Plus


NATO Plus, currently NATO Plus 5, is a security arrangement that brings together NATO and five aligned nations – Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea…reports Asian Lite News

In a significant development ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, a powerful Congressional Committee has recommended strengthening NATO Plus by including India.

NATO Plus, currently NATO Plus 5, is a security arrangement that brings together NATO and five aligned nations – Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, and South Korea – to boost global defence cooperation.

Bringing India on board would facilitate seamless intelligence sharing between these countries and India would access the latest military technology without much of a time lag.

The House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), led by Chairman Mike Gallagher and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi, overwhelmingly adopted a policy proposal to enhance Taiwan’s deterrence, including through strengthening NATO Plus to include India.

“Winning the strategic competition with the Chinese Communist Party and ensuring the security of Taiwan demands the United States strengthen ties to our allies and security partners, including India. Including India in NATO Plus security arrangements would build upon the US and India’s close partnership to strengthen global security and deter the aggression of the CCP across the Indo-Pacific region,” the Select Committee recommended.

An initiative of the Republican leadership, the Select Committee is popularly called the China Committee.

Indian-American Ramesh Kapoor, who has been working on this proposal for the past six years, said this is a significant development. He hoped that the recommendation would find a place in the National Defense Authorization Act 2024 and finally end up becoming a law of the land.

In its set of recommendations, the China Committee said that economic sanctions against China in case of an attack on Taiwan will be most effective if key allies such as G7, NATO, NATO 5, and Quad members join, and negotiating a joint response and broadcasting this message publicly have the added benefit of enhancing deterrence.

“Much like we do joint contingency planning for war fighting, we need to coordinate in peacetime with US allies. To that end, Congress should pass legislation similar to the STAND with Taiwan Act of 2023 that mandates the development of an economic sanctions package to be employed in the event of a PRC attack on Taiwan,” it said.

It should also pass legislation to counter the CCP’s economic coercion, including by providing tools to support foreign partners targeted by the PRC’s economic coercion. The flip side of economic deterrence is economic engagement with Taiwan, it said.

Accordingly, Congress should support efforts to reduce the taxation burden on US-Taiwan cross-border investment as well as broader trade negotiations with a particular focus on developing shared standards and regulations to combat the CCP’s unfair economic policies, the committee said.

“The United States should strengthen the NATO Plus arrangement to include India. The United States should also strengthen diplomatic deterrence by supporting Taiwan’s participation in international organizations and amending the TAIPEI Act to provide that the United States, alongside its allies and partners, should publicly oppose any attempts by the CCP to resolve the status of Taiwan’s sovereignty by intentionally misusing, misinterpreting, and misleading others on the underlying purpose of UN Resolution 2758 or the United States’ One China Policy,” it stated.

PM Modi will pay an official state visit to the US next month.

Meanwhile, Indian Americans across the United States are eagerly preparing to extend a warm welcome to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his upcoming historic state visit to the country. Organisers have announced plans for an ‘India Unity Day’ march to be held in 20 major cities on June 18, two days before the Prime Minister’s arrival.

Prime Minister Modi’s state visit holds significant importance as it marks his first visit to the US since President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden extended the invitation. The visit will include a state dinner hosted by the US President and First Lady on June 22 to honour the Prime Minister.

Community leader Adapa Prasad, the national president of Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) USA, expressed the Indian American community’s excitement about Prime Minister Modi’s visit.

He highlighted the planned ‘India Unity Day’ march from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, where people will gather to welcome Modi. Similar marches will also take place in 20 other prominent cities across the nation, including New York’s Times Square and San Francisco’s Golden Bridge.

Prasad emphasised that the Indian American community, representing various sections, has united to make the Prime Minister’s visit a memorable and proud occasion. Special events are being organised in New York and Washington DC, the primary destinations on Modi’s itinerary.

The welcoming festivities will include a cultural extravaganza at Lafayette Square Park, where diverse Indian American groups and organisations will showcase India’s rich cultural heritage. The evening of June 21 will witness a grand cultural event spanning from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in front of the White House, highlighting India’s growth and development in the past nine years.

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