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Sweden’s NATO Bid: A News Analysis for UPSC CSE



Introduction

In a historic move, Sweden’s bid to join NATO was finally approved by Hungary, marking the end of the country’s long era of non-alignment. This blog post will decode this major development for UPSC CSE aspirants, covering its various dimensions and their relevance to the civil service examination.


UPSC CSE – What’s the Ongoing News

Sweden’s decision to abandon its neutrality and join NATO is a significant geopolitical development with far-reaching implications. This move comes after decades of non-alignment, and it underscores the evolving security landscape in Europe, particularly in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


Map Work for UPSC Prelims

  • Sweden: Located in Northern Europe, bordering Norway to the west, Finland to the northeast, the Baltic Sea to the east and southeast, and Denmark across the narrow strait Öresund to the southwest.

  • Scandinavian Peninsula: Sweden occupies the eastern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, which also includes Norway and a small part of Finland.

  • Nordic Countries: Sweden is part of the Nordic region, which also includes Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway.


Long Era of Nonalignment Coming to a Close

Sweden’s decision to join NATO signifies the end of an era. The country has maintained a policy of neutrality for over two centuries, strategically avoiding military alliances. However, Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has fundamentally altered the security calculus in Europe, prompting Sweden to reconsider its non-aligned status.


Why Does Sweden Want to Join NATO?

Sweden’s decision to join NATO is primarily driven by security concerns. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has heightened anxieties in Sweden regarding potential Russian aggression. By joining NATO, Sweden seeks to benefit from the alliance’s collective security guarantee, enshrined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.


What Will Sweden Bring to NATO?

Sweden’s accession to NATO will bolster the alliance’s military capabilities. Sweden possesses a well-equipped and modern military, with a strong navy and air force. Additionally, Sweden’s strategic location in Northern Europe will further strengthen NATO’s presence in the Baltic Sea region.


North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): A Historical Background

Formed in 1949, NATO is a military alliance established by 12 countries, including the United States, Canada, and several European nations. The alliance was created in response to Soviet expansionism during the Cold War.


Article 5 of NATO’s Founding Treaty (Collective Security)

Article 5 of NATO’s founding treaty, the North Atlantic Treaty, is the cornerstone of the alliance’s collective security guarantee. It stipulates that an attack on one member state shall be considered an attack on all. This principle of collective defence is a key deterrent against potential aggression.


Article 4 of NATO’s Founding Treaty

Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty allows member states to consult together whenever a member feels its territorial integrity, political independence, or security is threatened.


Significance for UPSC CSE – How is Sweden’s NATO Membership Significant?

Sweden’s accession to NATO, along with Finland’s, marks a watershed moment in European security. It represents a major expansion of NATO eastward, and it is seen by many as a response to Russia’s assertive foreign policy. This development has several key implications for UPSC CSE aspirants:

  • Changed Security Landscape: It highlights the evolving security architecture in Europe and the importance of alliances in a multipolar world.

  • Collective Security: It reinforces the concept of collective security and its role in deterring aggression.

  • Impact on Russia-West Relations: It underscores the strained relations between Russia and the West and the potential for further escalation.

  • Global Realignments: It points towards the possibility of broader global realignments in the face of emerging security challenges.


How Will Sweden Benefit from NATO Membership?

Sweden’s membership in NATO will provide the country with several benefits:

  • Enhanced Security: Sweden will benefit from NATO’s collective security guarantee, deterring potential threats from Russia.

  • Increased Military Cooperation: Sweden will have greater opportunities for military cooperation with NATO allies, improving its defence capabilities.