What is NATO? 31 NATO Members List, NATO Countries List, Objectives of NATO Forces

There are 31 members of NATO in 2023 and the list is provided below.

NATO is one term that is widely used when we talk about geopolitics around the world. It stands for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is also known as North Atlantic Alliance. In simple words, we can say that it is an intergovernmental military alliance between 31 countries. In these 31 countries, 29 are European countries and 2 are North American countries.

If you are a student preparing for the civil services exam then you are expected to have good knowledge of this organization. It is so because questions like what is NATO, list of NATO countries, etc. are often asked in competitive exams. Go through this post to get the complete details about NATO forces and how do they work.

Formation of NATO

There were various reasons due to which North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created in the year 1949. Some of these reasons are as follows.

  • Its main purpose was to secure peace in Europe and promote mutual co-operation.
  • Another motive was to counter the threat posed by the Soviet Union which had become a superpower after World War II.
  • Initially, the treaty was signed by 12 European and 2 North American (Canada and USA) countries. The aim was to ensure the peaceful resolution of disputes.
  • Most importantly, the treaty has a clause of collective defence, meaning that an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies. This clause provides a great sense of security amongst the member nations.

List of NATO Members

The member countries of NATO play the most important role in the functioning of the organization. The list of NATO members as of 2023 is given below along with the year in which they joined NATO.

  • Belgium – 1949
  • Canada – 1949
  • Denmark – 1949
  • France – 1949
  • Iceland – 1949
  • Italy – 1949
  • Luxembourg – 1949
  • Netherlands – 1949
  • Norway – 1949
  • Portugal – 1949
  • The United Kingdom – 1949
  • The United States – 1949
  • Greece – 1952
  • Turkey – 1952
  • Germany – 1955
  • Spain – 1982
  • Czech Republic – 1999
  • Hungary – 1999
  • Poland – 1999
  • Bulgaria – 2004
  • Estonia – 2004
  • Latvia – 2004
  • Lithuania – 2004
  • Romania – 2004
  • Slovakia – 2004
  • Slovenia – 2004
  • Albania – 2009
  • Croatia – 2009
  • Montenegro – 2017
  • North Macedonia – 2020
  • Finland- 2023

Note: As you can see in the above list 29 countries in NATO are European and only two countries are North American.

Objectives of NATO

The main objectives of NATO are discussed below.

  • Political And Military Alliance – NATO always promotes democratic values. The member countries can consult and co-operate in their defence and security related issues. One of NATO’s main aims is to protect the freedom of each of its members through political and military measures.
  • Collective Defence – This is the most important job of NATO. According to the principle of NATO, an attack on any member of NATO is considered as an attack against all. This principle is enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Article 5 is invoked only once so far when the USA was attacked in September 2001 by terrorists.
  • Boost Transatlantic Link – NATO also provides an amazing link between the continents of Europe and North America. This organization enable countries in Europe and North America to cooperate and consult in the field of defence and security.
  • The 2010 Strategic Concept – This concept defines the core motives/ tasks as collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security.

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List of Major Operations by NATO Forces so far

Here is the list of the major military operation conducted by NATO as of now.

Name of the operationDates Details
Bosnia and Herzegovina1992 to 2004Bombing of  Bosnian Serb military commands, Attacking the  Army of the Republika Srpska, after the Srebrenica genocide.
Operation Allied Force24 March 1999 to 10 June 19993 month long bombing campaign against Serbian forces in Kosovo
KFOR12 June 1999 to PresentPeacekeeping force for the establishment of a peaceful environment in Kosovo to enforce UNSC resolution 1244.
Disarmament of the Macedonian UÇK fighters27 August 2001 to 26 September 2001To disarm the Macedonian UCK fighters.
Operation Eagle Assist9 October 2001 to 16 May 2002Aerial petrol over the USA to protect against an attack similar to that of 11 September 2001
International Security Assistance Force20 December 2001 to 28 December 2014Peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan
Pakistan earthquake relief8 October 2005 to 9 February 2006Providing Aid in the wake of the 2005 Kashmir Earthquake in Pakistan
Operation Ocean Shield17 August 2009 to 15 December 2016Counter the problem of piracy near the coasts of Africa
Operation Unified Protector27 March 2011 to 31 October 2011To enforce a no-fly zone in Libya to protect citizens from Muammar Gaddafi.
Operation Active FenceDecember 2012 to presentInstalling MIM-104 Patriot system air defence system in Turkey
Resolute Support Mission1 January 2015 to 12 July 2021Train and support Afghan Security Forces and Institutions

Frequently Asked Questions

When NATO was formed?

NATO was formed on 4th April 1949.

Where are the headquarters of NATO?

The headquarters of NATO is in Brussels, Belgium.

What are official languages of NATO?

The official languages of NATO are English and French.

How many countries are there in NATO?

There are 31 members in NATO as of 2023.

NATO currently recognizes which three countries as aspiring members?

NATO currently recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Ukraine as aspiring members.

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