Friday, December 24, 2010

NATO weaves South Asian web

What the summit meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) at Lisbon last month brought to mind almost instinctively was that the persistent rumors about the alliance's death were indeed greatly exaggerated. The striking thing was the degree of internal unity and outward determination among the alliance's 28 members.

In recent years, derisive dismissals have featured galore in international discourse about the "dysfunctional irrelevance" of NATO and an alliance characterized as a "Cold War relic". In South Asia - Indian, in particular - this almost resulted in an intellectual ellipsis while dwelling on the overall United States regional strategies in the overlapping Afghanistan-Pakistan conflicts. In fact, NATO hardly figured in the Indian discourses on Afghanistan as an issue of consequence.

Facile impressions gathered in the South Asian strategic community that the US was desperately seeking an "exit strategy" in Afghanistan and was about to "cut and run" from the Hindu Kush.

The NATO summit in Lisbon at the end of November, therefore, came as an eye-opener for South Asians. Voices in the transatlantic space that questioned the continued the raison d'etre of the alliance have fallen completely silent.