Relations with partners in the Indo-Pacific region

  • Last updated: 11 Apr. 2023 11:02

NATO is strengthening relations with its partners in the Indo-Pacific region – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. In today’s complex security environment, relations with like-minded partners across the globe are increasingly important to address cross-cutting security issues and global challenges, as well as to defend the rules-based international order. This is why strengthening relations with partners in the Indo-Pacific forms an important aspect of the NATO 2030 agenda.

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NATO and its partners in the Indo-Pacific have agreed to step up political dialogue and practical cooperation in several areas, including cyberspace, new technology and countering disinformation. Because global challenges demand global solutions, they have also agreed to work more closely together in other areas such as maritime security, climate change and resilience. 

In April 2022, the Foreign Ministers of these partner countries participated in the NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting, together with their counterparts from then-partner Finland (now a member), Georgia, Sweden and Ukraine, as well as the European Union (EU) High Representative/Vice-President of the European Commission. NATO Allies and partners addressed the global implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

This followed the first-ever NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting with the partners from the Indo-Pacific in December 2020, where they discussed the shift in the global balance of power and the rise of China. This meeting also included then-partner Finland (now a member), Sweden and the EU High Representative/Vice President of the European Commission. 

The North Atlantic Council meets regularly with the partners in the Indo-Pacific. Topics addressed in such Council meetings have included the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, maritime security and climate change. NATO Allies also meet with them in military formats. In May 2022, a meeting of the NATO Military Committee in Chiefs of Defence session with Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand was held at NATO Headquarters. 

Political dialogue ensures that NATO and its partners can enhance their mutual situational awareness on security developments in the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions. Partners from the Indo-Pacific contribute unique perspectives to NATO policy discussions on common security challenges, such as cyber defence and climate change.

Additionally, NATO and each of the partners in the Indo-Pacific have developed Individual Partnership Cooperation Programmes, with cooperative activities focusing on topics of mutual interest including cyber defence, non-proliferation, civil preparedness and Women, Peace and Security.

In an era of strategic competition that contests the core principles of international security, NATO must work even more closely with like-minded countries. To this end, in Madrid in June 2022, the partners from the Indo-Pacific region participated for the first time in a NATO Summit.