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This day that year: NATO turns 70

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New Delhi, Apr 4: On this day in 1949 (April 4), the North Atlantic Treaty was signed and NATO officially came into existence. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) marks its 70th anniversary today.

NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO is a 70-year-old political and military alliance that joins the US and Canada with allies in Europe. The alliance grew largely out of Cold War fears of Soviet aggression and expansionism.

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The US, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom signed the initial treaty on April 4, 1949.

NATO's official website defines its purpose as to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means.

NATO's political objective is to promote 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, as per its website. While its military objective states that 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 the collective defence clause of NATO's founding treaty - Article 5 of the Washington Treaty or under a United Nations mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organisations.

['I intend to designate Brazil as a major non-NATO Ally': Donald Trump]

Since its foundation, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 29. The most recent member state to be added to NATO is Montenegro on 5 June 2017. NATO currently recognizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, North Macedonia and Ukraine as aspiring members. An additional 21 countries participate in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, with 15 other countries involved in institutionalized dialogue programs.

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