The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) started its largest military exercise in Europe, the Steadfast Defender 2024, recently.

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) started its largest military exercise in Europe, the Steadfast Defender 2024, recently. Blog Image

Overview:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) started its largest military exercise in Europe, the Steadfast Defender 2024, recently.

About Steadfast Defender 2024

  • It is NATO’s most extensive military exercise since the Cold War era.
  • It involves 90,000 forces from 31 member countries and NATO partner Sweden and is conducted across various NATO nations.
  • The exercise will feature an impressive array of military hardware, including over 50 naval vessels ranging from aircraft carriers to destroyers, and a formidable air contingent of more than 80 units comprising fighter jets, helicopters, and drones.
  • The ground forces are equally robust, with at least 1,100 combat vehicles, including 133 tanks and 533 infantry fighting vehicles, demonstrating NATO’s ground capabilities.
  • The purpose of Steadfast Defender 2024 is to put NATO's new regional defense plans to the test. 
    • These plans, the first of their kind in decades, outline the alliance's response mechanisms to potential threats, notably addressing concerns regarding Russian aggression.

What is NATO?

  • Formed in 1949 with the signing of the Washington Treaty, NATO is a security alliance of 31 countries from North America and Europe.
  • NATO’s fundamental goal is to safeguard the Allies’ freedom and security by political and military means.
  • It is a system of collective defence where independent member states agree for mutual defence in case of any attack by an external party.
    • Article 5 of the Washington Treaty states that an attack against one ally is an attack against all.
    • This article forms the core of the Alliance, a promise of collective defense.
  • Headquarter: Brussels, Belgium.
  • Functions:
    • Political: NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust, and, in the long run, prevent conflict.
    • Military: NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations. These are carried out under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty or under a United Nations mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organisations.

Q1) What is the Washington Treaty?

The Washington Treaty – or North Atlantic Treaty – forms the basis of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – or NATO. The Treaty was signed in Washington D.C. on 4 April 1949 by 12 founding members. The Treaty derives its authority from Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, which reaffirms the inherent right of independent states to individual or collective defence. Collective defence is at the heart of the Treaty and is enshrined in Article 5. It commits members to protect each other and sets a spirit of solidarity within the Alliance. The Treaty is short – containing only 14 articles – and provides for in-built flexibility on all fronts.

Source: Why is NATO’s Steadfast Defender 2024 military exercise significant? | Explained