NATO Warsaw Summit 2016

27th North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Summit was held in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. Termed as a “landmark” summit, it was a crucial gathering of NATO member-states to decide the next course of security policy in Europe and beyond. Broadly, the stated objective of the Warsaw Summit was to take decision on enhancing ‘the Alliance’s security by strengthening its deterrence and defence, and projecting stability beyond its borders.

A number of issues, ranging from the political and security situation in Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa to relations with Russia, Afghanistan and non-traditional security threats, including cyber security, and NATO-European Union (EU) cooperation were discussed for future course of policy orientation. Security situation in Eastern Europe and relationship with Russia figured high on the NATO agenda.
Security concerns:
  1. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
  2. political instability in Afghanistan, Middle East and North Africa
  3. War in Syria and Iraq caused massive displacement of population – leading to migrant crisis in Europe
Approach Towards Russia: Deterrence and Dialogue
  • Expectedly, NATO decided to enhance its military presence in Eastern Europe. The Ukraine crisis and subsequent developments had led to deterioration of Russia-West relations. NATO has taken various steps to strengthen security of its members at the Wales Summit in 2014.
  • European political discourse on Russia is not limited to military approach. It has necessary elements of support for dialogue and cooperation with Russia. Politically, NATO too maintains that ‘constructive and meaningful’ talk with Russia is essential to ‘reduce the risk of military incidents or accidents spiralling out of control. Recent trends reflect that Russia and EU are inching towards easing tension.
  • Persisting conflict in Ukraine continued to be a bone of contention between Russia and NATO. Political efforts between Russia and the EU, and Russia and the US have been initiated to resolve the crisis. At the Warsaw Summit, NATO decided to continue assistance for facilitating reform in defence sector and develop armed forces in Ukraine.
NATO-EU Cooperation
  • NATO and EU decided to step up their cooperation in areas of hybrid warfare, cyber security, defence industry and research & development. The Joint Declaration issued by NATO and EU notes, “a stronger NATO and a stronger EU are mutually reinforcing.”
Prolonged Stay in Afghanistan
  • After political transition and transfer of command to Afghan National Security Forces, security situation in Afghanistan is yet to be stabilized. The country faces frequent insurgent attacks. Efforts of President Ashraf Ghani: Taliban and Afghan government held peace talks in July 2015 in Pakistan, attended by US and Chinese officials. However, reconciliation process could not achieve any considerable success.
Stepping-Up Efforts in Middle East and North Africa
  • NATO has decided to project stability beyond its borders. Terrorist threats from ISIL are a cause of concern for NATO countries. Although ISIL has lost considerable territory, it remains a potent organization to unleash violence and launch terror attacks. NATO has decided to train the security forces in Iraq and use of airborne early warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft to support the global coalition to counter ISIL. NATO has stepped its role in assisting to control the flow of migration and human trafficking.  NATO members want to enhance military surveillance in the Mediterranean Sea. NATO leaders decided that Operation Sea Guardian would have a broad scope, which will include providing situational awareness, countering trafficking and terrorism, upholding freedom of navigation and contributing to regional capacity building.
NATO has adopted a mixed approach of ‘deterrence and dialogue’ towards Russia. It will continue to enhance the deterrence, but, will seek dialogue to explore political solutions of crises. Some European countries also realize that showing military strength would not help security situation in Eastern Europe. However, Baltic countries and Poland insist on multinational battalions in the region. Russia has categorically stated that policy of confrontation would lead to deterioration in the security situation. Afghanistan, Middle East and North Africa, political instability in Syria and Iraq, threat of ISIL, migrants and refugees issue are important for peace and security and harmonious relation between west and Russia.



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