‘NATO partnership with India worth exploring’

Last Updated: Friday, March 2, 2012 - 10:18

Washington: A top Pentagon Commander has told
US lawmakers that the possibilities of NATO partnership with
India and Brazil are "worth exploring", as the two nations
have great capabilities.

"Just to really push a little further out there, two
nations that I think are worth exploring possibilities with
are India and Brazil. They both have great capability. They
could operate with us, for example, in the piracy mission
should they choose to do so," said Admiral James Stavridis,
Commander of US European Command (EUCOM), and NATO Supreme
Allied Commander Europe.

This is for the first time possibly that a top Pentagon
commander is making such a statement on partnership between
NATO and India. The Pentagon official was quick to inform
lawmakers that this idea of his could be a little bit
far-fetched.

Stavridis, who was responding to a question from
Congressman Loretta Sanchez at a Congressional hearing
yesterday, said that exploring the possibilities of NATO
building partnership with India was last on his list of four
priorities of NATO`s expansion and partnership with other
countries.

"I would look first and foremost at building on the
coalition in Afghanistan. Twenty-eight NATO nations, but we
have 22 other nations who are partnering with NATO in
Afghanistan. This is many Pacific nations, Korea, Australia,
New Zealand, Tonga. So I think that that coalition base gives
us one set of potential partners looking forward," he said.

"Secondly, we have two organisations that reach beyond
NATO. Today, the Mediterranean dialogue, we`re in the process
of talking, for example, with Libya. Already many of the other
nations in General Ham`s region are part of this. The nations
around the Mediterranean are natural NATO partners," he said.

The commander said that the partnership with Istanbul
Cooperative Initiative, consisting of the Gulf states, had
helped US in anti-piracy operations.

Stavridis said during the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago,
the leaders would review its policies and will present the
alliance`s path forward in total on nuclear weapons.

"In terms of NATO continuing to finance the infrastructure
and what are the costs, the costs are relatively significant
in protecting these weapons; and thus, we have to, as an
alliance, make decisions about whether we want to maintain
them or not," he said, adding that the decision on the issue
would be taken soon.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 2, 2012 - 10:18

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