Finnish soldiers at the Finnish Army mechanized exercise Arrow 23 at the Pohjankangas shooting and training area in village of Niinisalo, in Kankaanpää, Finland on 4th May, 2023. LEHTIKUVA

International news

Finland's recent decision to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) represents a significant transformation in the country's foreign and security policy, according to Finland's Ambassador to India, Kimmo Lahdevirta. He underscored that this move emphasizes Finland's commitment to the fundamental principle of collective defense, wherein an attack against any NATO member state is regarded as an attack against all.

In an interview with ANI, Ambassador Lahdevirta explained, "This marks a major shift in our foreign and foreign security policy, committing Finland to the principle of collective defense. Our NATO membership involves several military and political dimensions. Militarily, we are now actively participating in defense planning, exercises, procurement, and other NATO systems. Politically, it has deepened our relationship with NATO members significantly."

Lahdevirta emphasized Finland's substantial national defense capabilities, civil preparedness, and the country's commitment to allocate over 2 percent of its GDP to defense, indicating a robust commitment to security. He added, "Finland brings essential assets to NATO. We have a strong national defense, civil preparedness, and crisis resilience. The fact that we allocate well over 2 percent of our GDP for national defense is significant and demonstrates our dedication to security."

The Ambassador also expressed Finland's aspiration for Sweden to become a part of NATO. He stressed that the alliance remains incomplete without Sweden's membership and highlighted the potential collaboration between both nations in enhancing the security landscape of Northern Europe and NATO as a whole.

Both Finland and Sweden had jointly applied for NATO membership in May of the preceding year. However, while Finland's membership was ratified in April 2023, Sweden faced opposition from Turkey, which wielded its veto power over concerns related to alleged support for Kurdish fighter groups. Remarkably, Turkey altered its position in July, removing its blockade and potentially paving the way for Sweden's future membership in the alliance.

Finland's integration into NATO stands as a testament to its commitment to collective security and cooperation within the international community, further strengthening the alliance's reach and influence in Northern Europe.