The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed in 1949 by various nations . This article talks about NATO and its importance for the UPSC 2021 IAS Exam.

International organisations and groupings are an important part of the International Relations section of the General Studies paper-2 in the UPSC Syllabus. International relations is a very dynamic part and is crucial for multiple papers in Prelims and Mains. Students preparing for UPSC 2021 and other Government Exams must be aware of the topic.


  • Details about NATO
  • Objectives
  • Significance
  • Member Countries
  • Latest development


  • It is an intergovernmental military alliance.
  • Established by Washington treaty.
  • Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.
  • Headquarters — Brussels, Belgium.
  • Headquarters of Allied Command Operations — Mons, Belgium.



NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.


NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations. These are carried out under the collective defence clause of NATO's founding treaty - Article 5 of the Washington Treaty or under a United Nations mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organisations.


NATO’s essential and enduring purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members by political and military means. Collective defence is at the heart of the Alliance and creates a spirit of solidarity and cohesion among its members.

NATO strives to secure a lasting peace in Europe, based on common values of individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Seeing the outbreak of crises and conflicts beyond Allied borders can jeopardise this objective, the Alliance also contributes to peace and stability through crisis management operations and partnerships. Essentially, NATO not only helps to defend the territory of its members, but also engages where possible and when necessary to project its values further afield, prevent and manage crises, stabilise post-conflict situations and support reconstruction.

NATO also embodies the transatlantic link by which the security of North America is tied to that of Europe’s. It is an intergovernmental organisation which provides a forum where members can consult on any issue they may choose to raise and take decisions on political and military matters affecting their security. No single member country is forced to rely solely on its national capabilities to meet its essential national security objectives. The resulting sense of shared security among members contributes to stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.

NATO’s fundamental security tasks are laid down in the Washington Treaty (also known as the North Atlantic Treaty). They are sufficiently general to withstand the test of time and are translated into more detail in the Organization’s strategic concepts. Strategic concepts are the authoritative statement of the Alliance’s objectives: they provide the highest level of guidance on the political and military means to be used to achieve these goals and remain the basis for the implementation of Alliance policy as a whole.

During the Cold War, NATO focused on collective defence and the protection of its members from potential threats emanating from the Soviet Union. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of non-state actors affecting international security, many new security threats emerged. NATO is countering these threats by utilising collective defence, managing crisis situations and encouraging cooperative security, as outlined in the 2010 Strategic Concept.



What Is NATO's Article 5? - HISTORY

  • Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary-general, stressed that 2020 would be the sixth consecutive year in which total defence spending by European allies and Canada would rise, this time by 4.3 per cent in real terms.
  • Defence ministers of ten Nato allies have launched a multinational initiative to explore a ground-based air defence (GBAD) modular solution. The project is part of the expanding multinational High Visibility Projects (HVPs) portfolio, which is supported by Nato to deliver defence capability for alliance security.It will be able to counter very short range, short-range and medium-range threats.
  • Russian recently gave out a statement that they are open for constructive work on minimizing the negative consequences of the collapse of the INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty on the basis of the principles of equal and indivisible security and the respect for the balance of the parties’ interests.
  • NATO allies France and Turkey traded angry recriminations as international tensions mounted over the fiercest clashes between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces since the mid-1990s. Some of Turkey‘s NATO allies are increasingly alarmed by Ankara’s stance on Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region inside Turkey‘s close ally Azerbaijan that is run by ethnic Armenians but is not recognised by any country as an independent republic.
  • Tensions between Russia and NATO reached new heights when satellite images discovered Russian forces massing near the Ukraine border. Although the Russian government has claimed that their forces were conducting a military exercise in the region, NATO allies have remained vary of the claim.
  • NATO Summit was held recently in Brussels. It brought together the leaders of all 30 Allied nations.

Outcomes of the meet:

    1. The heads of the NATO countries said they “remain firmly committed to NATO’s founding Washington Treaty, including that an attack against one Ally shall be considered an attack against us all, as enshrined in Article 5.”
    2. It included language about updating Article 5 to include major cyberattacks, which have become a significant and growing concern.


  • BELGIUM (1949)
  • CANADA (1949)
  • DENMARK (1949)
  • FRANCE (1949)
  • ICELAND (1949)
  • ITALY (1949)
  • LUXEMBOURG (1949)
  • NETHERLANDS (1949)
  • NORWAY (1949)
  • PORTUGAL (1949)
  • GREECE (1952)
  • TURKEY (1952)
  • GERMANY (1955)
  • SPAIN (1982)
  • HUNGARY (1999)
  • POLAND (1999)
  • BULGARIA (2004)
  • ESTONIA (2004)
  • LATVIA (2004)
  • LITHUANIA (2004)
  • ROMANIA (2004)
  • SLOVAKIA (2004)
  • SLOVENIA (2004)
  • ALBANIA (2009)
  • CROATIA (2009)
  • MONTENEGRO (2017)



Current affairs is important for UPSC and other government exams . To get latest copy of current affairs



History is one of the major subjects in UPSC. To read more articles on Ancient Medieval Modern and world History