The Lisbon Summit concluded on 20 November 2010 with decisions that will mean profound changes for the way NATO does business, making the Alliance more effective, more efficient and more engaged with the wider world. NATO has regarded Lisbon Summit as one of the most important summits in NATO's history. The summit has widened its scope by becoming more effective, more engaged and more efficient than ever before. The Secretary General said NATO will invest in key capabilities like missile defense, cyber defense and long-range transport; NATO will reach out to connect with our partners around the globe, countries and other organizations; and reduce the numbers of Command Structure by about 4,000 personnel. These goals guided the negotiations of the heads of state at the meeting and became the foundation of the New Strategic Concept for the next decade. The summit has adopted a new Strategic Concept that laid out its vision for the Alliance for the next decade: able to defend its members against the full range of threats; capable of managing even the most challenging crises; and better able to work with other organisations and nations to promote international stability. The summit also provided a timeframe for NATO operations in Afghanistan. The Allies will turn over the responsibility of the security of Afghanistan to the Afghan government by 2014. All its 21 partners in ISAF, the United Nations, the European Union, the World Bank and Japan have reaffirmed their long-term commitment to Afghanistan, as set out in our strategic vision agreed at the Bucharest Summit and reaffirmed at the Strasbourg/Kehl Summit. Among the 21st century threats that NATO has turned its attention to is the growing proliferation of ballistic missiles-thus endorsing the necessity of a common missile defense system-cyber security, terrorism, piracy and the threats posed by failed or failing states like Afghanistan and Somalia.
NATO has agreed an Action Plan to mainstream United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security into NATO-led operations and missions.
KFOR remains in Kosovo on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 to support a stable, peaceful and multi-ethnic environment, cooperating with all relevant actors, in particular the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), and the Kosovo Police, in accordance with NATO agreed decisions and procedures.
NATO has decided that the scope of NATO's current Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (ALTBMD) programme's command, control and communications capabilities will be expanded beyond the protection of NATO deployed forces to also protect NATO European populations, territory and forces.
- Russia has declared that the time has finally come to stop worrying about each other and start cooperating. Russia not only accepted NATO's decision at the summit to develop a missile defense system but also agreed to work on how the two might eventually coordinate their systems.
- Turkey has succeeded in convincing other members to refrain naming a particular country as the target of the new missile defense system. Further, its demand to have the proposed missile defense system to cover all of Turkish territory was also met.
It has become very clear that even after nine years, the US-led invasion of Afghanistan has failed to check the growing influence of Talibans. According to the Brussels-based think tank International Crisis Group (ICG) there is little evidence that the US-led operations have disrupted Taliban's momentum. The ICG Report says "The Talibans are more active than ever and they still enjoy sanctuary and support in Pakistan". The Pakistani support to the Talibans continues and the plan would only inflame rivalries between various Afghan groups and increase insecurity for ordinary people. The report comes as Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently formed a peace council to lead talks with discontented Afghans and militants who have engaged in warfare with the government. The council was established after senior officials in the UK floated the idea of making peace with the Taliban, whose uprooting was one of the main objectives of the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan. More than 660 US-led soldiers have been killed so far this year, the highest annual casualty count since the war began in 2001. The number of Afghan civilians killed in the conflict also climbed by a third in the first six months of 2010 to stand at 1,271. According to International Council of Security and Development (ICOS) latest research indicates that 80 per cent of the country has a permanent Taliban presence, up from 72 per cent in 2008, and that 97 per cent of the country has "substantial Taliban activity".
Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai has remained very weak and the economy continues to be heavily dependent upon opium production. This has crippled the Government's ability to take action against the Talibanis. Infact, the military force cannot solve, by itself, the problem of the economic reconstruction of southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban is the strongest, unless it is accompanied by a political component. Besides these inherent limitations, following factors may be attributed to the growing failure of NATO missions in Afghanistan:
- Recognizing the importance of reconstruction and development to Afghanistan's long-term stability, the available forces and resources seems to be inadequate.
- There can be no security in Afghanistan without development, and no development without security. The NATO forces have failed to imbibe a sense of security amongst the common Afghanis.
- The record poppy cultivation has encouraged the drug economy and, therefore, the Taliban's funding has been strengthened.
- The NATO forces are more guided by their national policy of the respective country than by the NATO/ISAF doctrine. Further, the real nail in NATO's coffin, however, has been its stunning lack of success on the ground. The Taliban have, in fact, not only increased their hold over large parts of southern Afghanistan, but spread north as well.
- At Quetta in Pakistan, the Taliban's base is expanding and this has given opportunity to reorganise and plan.
- Although, the United States had viewed the pact between Pakistan and tribal leaders of North Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan, as part of Islamabad's efforts to eliminate extremism in the border areas but ultimately the pact has significantly contributed to the escalation of the terrorist activities in the region.
- Commanders on the ground are also frustrated by the caveats or conditions that nations are placing on the use of their forces. NATO has completely failed to build any kind of central structure in Afghanistan, so now there does not seem to be any way they can regulate them. Further, the NATO-led operation was most at risk where its technical advantage was reduced, particularly in eastern Afghanistan, the scene of intense fighting with militia.
- USA has failed to pressurise Pakistan to check cross-border terrorism. Afghanistan believes that the Taliban insurgency derives strength from Pakistani elements.
- The dubious policy of Pakistan mainly in the form of:
- Pakistan risks a widening insurgency on its volatile Afghan border unless it quickly settles long-running grievances of its impoverished ethnic Baloch minority that erupted in unrest after the killing of a renegade tribal leader.
- It is an impoverished region, bordering Iran and Afghanistan that has witnessed decades of low-level violence.
- Instead of modernizing the area, Pakistan has resorted to Islamic fundamentalism to counter ethnic nationalism. Pakistan never tried for political solution and always pursued military measures.
- "Nine years of international presence in the country aimed at increasing the living standards of the Afghan population have failed to make any measured improvements in the accessibility and quality of health and educational services in most of Afghanistan, beyond the confines of Kabul."
Possible implications of NATO's failure
- Any regression in Afghanistan is calculated to have an immediate impact on India's internal security, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir. India will suffer more than any other country. India will become a new frontline.
- This will boost the morale of the terrorists and the situation will be equally bad for all the progressive forces in the world.
- The possible failure of NATO may have deep repercussions on the West Asian politics. The Hamas and Hezbollahs will be credited and they will be in a better position to exploit their fundamentalist views. This will further widen the gap between the Muslims and the rest. Infact, everyone has to be blamed for the growing terrorism.
- Failure in these actions would risk boosting Islamic extremism (not just in Afghanistan), would produce a failed state in an area of strategic importance, and would offer safe haven to terrorist organisations and the narcotics trade. It would also undermine the credibility of NATO in its first major out-of-area combat operation".
- India must review its policies in Afghanistan. India's role in post-Taliban Afghanistan has been confined to assistance in rebuilding roads and public buildings.
- All the European and Asian powers must come forward to help NATO in this mission. Otherwise, the current spate of terrorism will kill the results of gobalization.
- The pact of Pakistan and the tribal Jigra must be annulled and US must calculate the possible ramification of the treaty.
- UN must try to prevent the re-emergence of Taliban. Otherwise, it will be not able to cure it.
- The world must supply extra soldiers, more helicopters and more flexibility to use existing allied troops.
- NATO's failure in Afghanistan, coalition ineffectiveness in controlling situation in Iraq clearly indicates that the foreign forces cannot handle regional problems in modern days. The local people and their military are best suited to handle security problems. This has been also substantiated by the failure of USA in Vietnam and Soviet Russia in Afghanistan.
- Therefore, it would be necessary for the global fraternity to solve the problem of Afghanistan from a comprehensive approach.
Should India join NATO?
Considering the changing equations in Afghanistan, this option is almost closed for India. This option was open a few years back but now India's participation in the military operations as a part of NATO or otherwise is highly untenable. The history tells very clearly that military operations cannot solve political questions and India should intensify its efforts to make its presence felt at the political level in Afghanistan. Now Talibans have proved that they cannot be ignored by any political power in the world and therefore, India must make this option open that in case we see the return of Talibans in recent future, India should have at least a proper diplomatic presence even in that regime. And for this any sort of participation in the military operations would be highly avoidable.
Background of ( NATO )
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a regional defence alliance of European States, Canada, and the U.S., formed under Article 9 of the North Atlantic Treaty and was signed in Washington, D.C., on April 4, 1949. NATO’s purpose is to enhance the stability, well-being, and freedom of its members by means of a system of collective security. With the collapse of Soviet Union, the role of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was supposed to be finished. But it did not happen and NATO not only adopted new roles but also successfully diversified its role.
Expansion of NATO: First: On 18 February 1952, (13) Greece and (14) Turkey also joined. One can realize that Australia and New Zealand were left out because of geographical mismatch. In place of this, the ANZUS Agreement was made by the United States with these nations. Second: In 1954 the Soviet Union showed interest to join NATO but the offer was rejected. But on 9 May 1955, (15) West Germany was incorporated into NATO. This development created deep animosity between NATO and USSR and the cold war was deepened. Third: On 30 May 1982 (16) Spain joined NATO. Fourth: 12 November 1999 (17) Czech Republic, (18) Hungary and (19) Poland joined NATO. Fifth:
(20) Estonia, (21) Latvia, (22) Lithuania, (23) Slovenia, (24) Slovakia, (25) Bulgaria, and (26) Romania were first invited to start talks of membership during the 2002 Prague Summit, and joined NATO on 29 March 2004. Sixth: On 1 April 2009, membership was enlarged to 28 with the entrance of Albania and Croatia. Ukraine and Georgia were also told that they will eventually become members.
Future Expansion: For the further expansion of NATO, a mechanism called MAP or Membership Action Plan was approved in the Washington Summit of 1999. Currently MAPs are in implementation with the following countries: Republic of Macedonia. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia have joined Partnership for Peace on November 29th, 2006. On 21 September 2006, NATO members voted to admit Georgia into the process of "Intensified Dialogue", which is the first step into the membership of NATO. A final decision concerning Ukraine's membership may be possible by the end of 2010.Finland has strong grounds to join NATO but the polls in Finland indicate that the public is strongly against NATO membership.
Mediterranean Dialogue, first launched in 1994, is a forum of cooperation between NATO and seven countries of the Mediterranean: (1) Algeria, (2) Egypt, (3) Israel, (4) Jordan, (5) Mauritania, (6) Morocco, and (7) Tunisia. The Berlin Plus agreement is a comprehensive package of agreements made between NATO and the European Union on 16 December 2002. The combined military spending of all NATO members constitutes over 70 per cent of the world's defence spending. The United States alone accounts for 43 per cent of the total military spending of the world.
NATO-Russian Federation Council
NATO and Russian Federation made a reciprocal commitment in 1997 "to work together to build a stable, secure and undivided continent on the basis of partnership and common interest."
A double framework has been established to help further co-operation between the 28 NATO members and 22 "partner countries". The Partnership for Peace (PfP) program was established in 1994 and is based on individual bilateral relations between each partner country and NATO: each country may choose the extent of its participation. The PfP program is considered the operational wing of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership. Members include all current and former members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Belarus joined NATO's Partnership for Peace in 1995. The Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) was first established on 29 May 1997, and is a forum for regular coordination, consultation and dialogue between all 49 participants. The Mediterranean Dialogue was established in 1994 to coordinate in a similar way with Israel and countries in North Africa. The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was announced in 2004 as a dialog forum for the Middle East along the same lines as the Mediterranean Dialogue. It has yet to be implemented. Other third countries also have been contacted for participation in some activities of the PfP framework such as Afghanistan
Important summits Riga to Kehl
The 2006 Riga summit was held in Riga, Latvia, which had joined the Atlantic Alliance two years earlier. It is the first NATO summit to be held in a country that was part of the Soviet Union, and the second one in a former Comecon country (after the 2002 Prague summit).
A number of decisions were taken during the RIGA Summit at Latvia:
- (1) NATO endorsed the Comprehensive Political Guidance (CPG). CPG is a major policy document that sets out the priorities for all Alliance capability issues, planning disciplines and intelligence for the next 10 to 15 years.
- (2) The NATO forces are working in Afghanistan to the Balkans and from the Mediterranean Sea to Darfur, in six challenging missions and operations in three geographic regions. NATO wants to maintain such missions and operations.
- 3) As in Afghanistan, success in Kosovo will depend on a concerted effort. Experience in Afghanistan and Kosovo demonstrates that today’s challenges require a comprehensive approach by the international community involving a wide spectrum of civil and military instruments, while fully respecting mandates and autonomy of decisions of all actors, and provides precedents for this approach.
- (4) NATO’s Policy of Partnerships, dialogue, and cooperation is essential to the Alliance’s purpose and its tasks. It has fostered strong relationships with countries of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD), and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), as well as with Contact Countries.
Bucharest, 2-4 April 2008
At Bucharest, Allied leaders review the evolution of NATO’s main commitments: operations (Afghanistan and Kosovo); enlargement and the invitation of Albania and Croatia to start the accession process (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ will also be invited as soon as ongoing negotiations over its name have led to an agreement); the continued development of military capabilities to meet.
Strasbourg/ Kehl, 3-4 April 2009
Against the backdrop of NATO’s 60th anniversary, adoption of a Declaration on Alliance Security, calling for a new Strategic Concept; adherence to basic principles and shared values, as well as the need for ongoing transformation; in-depth discussion on Afghanistan, NATO’s key priority; welcoming of two new members: Albania and Croatia, and the pursuit of NATO’s open door policy (invitation extended to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ as soon as a solution to the issue surrounding the country’s name is reached); France’s decision to fully participate in NATO structures and the impact of this decision on the Alliance’s relations with the European Union; and NATO’s relations with Russia.