Brussels: NATO must adopt a new vision to
combat modern threats and broaden partnerships with emerging
powers such China and India, NATO Chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen
said on Friday.
Rasmussen called for an alliance to face 21st century
dangers such as cyber attacks, ballistic missiles and global
terrorism as he outlined his views on a new "strategic
concept" that NATO leaders will adopt in November.
The time had come for "an alliance which can defend the
900 million citizens of NATO countries against the threats
they face today, and will face in the coming decade," he said
in a speech ahead of a meeting of NATO foreign and defence
ministers next Thursday in Brussels.
The document has been drafted by Rasmussen following
proposals by experts.
It will replace a text adopted in 1999 and be adopted by
NATO leaders at a summit in Lisbon on November 19-20.
NATO must first modernise its defence and deterrence
capabilities but the concept of collective defence will always
remain a pillar of the military alliance, he told the German
Marshall Fund think tank.
The alliance must be ready to taken on "21st Century
crisis management" following the experience in Afghanistan, a
nine-year-old war that now counts around 150,000 international
troops, he said.
"Afghanistan has taught us some very clear lessons,
lessons we have learned at a very high price," Rasmussen said,
regretting that it took until 2008 to set up a training
mission for Afghan forces.
"Waiting that long was a mistake. We won`t repeat it," he
said. "I hope the strategic concept will mandate NATO to set
up a standing training capacity, so we can help others stand
on their feet, rather than leaning on us."
The NATO secretary general wants the alliance to deepen
partnerships with key partners in the Asia-Pacific region such
as Australia and South Korea, but also with Mediterranean
countries including Israel and Egypt.
He suggested that the alliance should create a system of
political and military consultations with emerging powers.
"It makes sense to extend our range of consultations to
also include countries like China and India in our regular
consultations," Rasmussen told reporters after the speech.