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Should India collaborate with NATO, especially against piracy in the Indian Ocean?

Question submitted by Vikas, from American University, June 26, 2013

Answered by: Robert D. Blackwill, Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy

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Although there is no formal institutional connection between India and NATO, India and the NATO allies, most importantly the United States, informally share an interest in maintaining maritime security in the Indian Ocean and have spent significant resources to combat piracy in this vast area. Particularly notable are India's bold efforts to combat piracy off the Horn of Africa.

In the U.S. experience, the potential for genuine, two-directional learning and new insights from military cooperation with India is substantial. Collaboration has proven beneficial to both sides and has contributed positively to security in the region, where India is a crucial and uniquely stabilizing force.

With the exception of the U.S.-India-Japan naval exercises of 2009 and 2011, however, India has more recently been reluctant to officially collaborate on a multilateral rather than bilateral basis on maritime security issues. But as demonstrated by India's prior joint cooperation with the United States, Japan, and Australia in post-2004 tsunami relief missions, multilateral action in the realm of maritime security can reap benefits for both India and the United States and its allies.