London/Moscow: A European think tank has warned that relations between Russia and NATO are at their lowest and countries could inadvertently find themselves in a military conflict that no one wants, through accident or miscalculation. A letter that makes an appeal to both nations has also claimed the agreement between them in view of security has become obsolete. Further, the think tank suggests that since both sides do not want war, it is crucial that they remain transparent and continue with negotiations.
In a report a few days ago, NATO had stated that Russia remained a chief threat to the organisation. The report said military deployment and cooperation with member nations was necessary to counter the threat. Earlier, senior Russian leaders had criticised NATO of basing the existence of the bloc on the sole notion of the ‘threat posed by Russia’. At the same time, the country had also warned it was maintaining a close watch on the movements of NATO member nations in proximity to its borders. In the past few months, fighter jets and warships of both NATO and Russia were observed to have increased their presence in areas located close to the other’s boundaries.
Given the developments, the European Leadership Network (ELN), a pan-European think tank, had called on both sides to re-engage in dialogue. The ELN warned that ‘The NATO-Russia ties have become complicated and disturbing while also hitting rock-bottom. Besides, the agreements that have assured security to both sides for the past 30 years have expired as well. A war could thus spark off through accident or miscalculation.’
The ELN has however drawn attention to the fact that ‘There could be disagreements on the cause of tensions between the two sides, but both are not interested in war.’ Therefore, the think tank called on both sides to focus on averting a war and sounded the alarm for the US, Russia and European nations to take the matter seriously. The letter goes on to inform on deliberations between former military and diplomatic officials as even defence experts from the US, Russia and European nations, on various alternatives to avoid a military confrontation in the past four months.
The ELN said since a conflict could spark off at any moment, NATO and Russia were making an effort to avert it through dialogue. A former official, who is a part of the think tank, has asserted that keeping more ways open for talks and discussions as even maintaining transparency about each other’s military movements, are measures which could help reduce tensions between the two. Moreover, former foreign and defence ministers from Russia, the UK, Germany and Italy, along with 145 diplomatic officials and experts are a part of the think tank. The warnings and points put forth by the think tank, therefore assume much significance.