About NATO, India US Relations, Major Non-Nato Ally & More

Recently, there was news that the US Congress will be passing a resolution making India a Major non-NATO ally (MNNA). Thus, it becomes imperative for us to know what it is and what this will mean for India. Also, with increasing diplomatic ties with the USA, it is crucial to analyze if it is in the interest of India to join NATO as a member nation.

This article will cover NATO and India USA defense ties. It will have info on Major Non-NATO ally and what it means for India. It will conclude with whether India should join NATO if given a chance.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization ( NATO )

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

It simply means that if you attack any NATO country, all other NATO members will come to defend it.

NATO’s Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.

NATO was started with 12 members and now has 29 members in all. They are Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.

India after its Independence decided not to join any of such groups and started its own Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).


India USA Relations

India’s relations with USA are better than they ever were. India is buying defence equipment from USA. These include Apache attack helicopters, Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, Sig Sauer Assault Rifles among others.

USA not imposing sanctions on India even after S-400 missile deal with Russia and continued oil purchase from Iran go on to show the strength of diplomatic ties between the two nations.

The USA is known to sign contracts with their strategic defence partners. India has already signed two of them, namely, COMCASA and LEMOA.

We’ll see about them in brief.

Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)

COMCASA will facilitate the use of high-end secured communication equipment to be installed on military platforms being sold to India by the US. It provides a legal framework for the transfer of communication security equipment from the US to India that will facilitate interoperability between armed forces of both countries and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secure data links. Interoperability, in this case, means that there will be access to encrypted and secret technologies or communications.

Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)

LEMOA gives access, to both countries, to designated military facilities on either side for the purpose of refueling and replenishment. It should be noted that it does not create any obligations on either Party to carry out any joint activity. However, it does not provide for the establishment of any bases or basing arrangements.

It basically means that the countries’ ships could use each other’s ports for refueling and other services or request services during humanitarian crises.


Major Non – NATO ally (MNNA)

It is a designation given by the United States government to close allies that have strategic working relationships with the US Armed Forces but are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

While the status does not automatically include a mutual defense pact with the United States, it still confers a variety of military and financial advantages that otherwise are not obtainable by non-NATO countries.

Following are some benefits that India will receive if the r

Nations named as major non-NATO allies are eligible for the following benefits:

  • entry into cooperative research and development projects with the Department of Defense (DoD) on a shared-cost basis
  • participation in certain counter-terrorism initiatives
  • purchase of depleted uranium anti-tank rounds
  • priority delivery of military surplus (ranging from rations to ships)
  • possession of War Reserve Stocks of DoD-owned equipment that are kept outside of American military bases
  • loans of equipment and materials for cooperative research and development projects and evaluations
  • permission to use American financing for the purchase or lease of certain defense equipment
  • reciprocal training
  • expedited export processing of space technology
  • permission for the country’s corporations to bid on certain DoD contracts for the repair and maintenance of military equipment outside the United States

If this resolution is passed, India will get many defence benefits without having to join NATO.

Fun FACT: Pakistan already has a Major non- NATO ally status.


Now let’s consider a scenario where India is offered to join NATO. Should India join it?

Well, for one, China or Pakistan will dare not attack India as that will attract the wrath of all 29 member nations, USA included.

It will also give our forces a, lot of exposure in terms of missions as NATO forces see a lot of overseas deployment. It will enhance the Indian Armed Forces in unforeseen ways.

For counter, If India signs this, it can say goodbye to its ‘all-weather ally’ RUSSIA. With India already reducing its defence purchases from Russia, this will be the final nail in the coffin.

Also, this will go against India’s initial stance of Non-Alignment.

Indian Armed Forces are already involved in multiple UNPKF missions, so it nullifies the extra exposure argument.


That will be all guys.

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Jai Hind