Nato’s partnership with Pakistan to continue: ambassador

ISLAMABAD: The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (Nato) partnership with Pakistan would continue in the days to come as both had a cooperation programme that included research and development.

Talking to Dawn, Belgian Ambassador to Pakistan Delogne Charles, who is also the point ambassador of Nato to Pakistan, however, candidly stated that the level of cooperation had diminished following the withdrawal of Nato troops from Afghanistan.

He further said frequent talks at the military level did take place between Nato and Pakistan.

Sharing details of the decisions and deliberations at the recently-held two-day Nato summit at Vinius, the Lithuanian capital, Delogne Charles said China was not an enemy but a challenge for Nato.

“Chinese policies affect our economy and security. This is something we have to deal with,” he said, without elaborating on it further.

He also said China did not respect some key rules of the international order.

“It continues to expand its military arsenal and there is no transparency in its nuclear stockpile,” he added.

The ambassador also accused China of seeking to invest in Nato countries to gain control on key technological and industrial sectors, critical infrastructure, strategic materials and supply chains and create strategic dependencies.

He named Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand as the four countries challenging China’s policy and said: “These countries are democracies”.

He added that Nato had decided to set up cooperation mechanism with these countries.

Delogne Charles in the same breath termed China a dynamic country offering lot of opportunities and said China could be a partner in many spheres including climate change.

Talking about Ukraine, the Belgian ambassador said it was decided at the Vilnius summit that it would be invited to become a member, without setting out a timeframe for it.

He made it clear that it would only happen when certain conditions were met and when the ongoing conflict with Russia was over.

Pointing out that under Article 5 of the Nato treaty, an armed attack on one alliance member is to be treated as an attack on all, he said, adding that an entry at this time would mean automatic application of the article, which would have consequences for the whole world.

Answering a question, he said Nato enlargement was a voluntary process.

“A country expresses desire to join, and then there is a debate within the alliance,” he added.

The ambassador said Nato would take further major steps to strengthen deterrence and defence, with three new regional plans, to counter the two main threats to the alliance: Russia, and terrorism.

One plan for the north, the Atlantic and European Arctic; one for the centre, covering the Baltic region and central Europe; and a southern plan for the Mediterranean and Black Sea, Mr Charles said, adding that to execute the plans, Nato was mobilising 300,000 troops which would remain on high alert, including substantial air and naval combat power.

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