North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United States of America-led world’s strongest military alliance, has expressed concerns over China’s “authoritarian behaviour at home and increased assertiveness and bullying abroad”. China has been facing the heat from every corner of the world for its role in the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic as well as its belligerent use of the military to try and alter borders on land as well as the sea and NATO’s comment comes at a time when the Asian country is facing increased isolation.

While stressing that NATO does not see China as an adversary, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday (June 30, 2020) stated, “But there is a clear pattern of authoritarian behaviour at home and increased assertiveness and bullying abroad.”

Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister who has been NATO’s top international civil servant since 2014, made the statement while speaking about “The Geopolitical Implications of COVID-19”, an online event of the German Institute for Global and Area studies (GIGA). He also called for a global approach to address the security challenges being faced.

While commending and appreciating the role armed forces across NATO have played to help save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged large parts of the world, Stoltenberg exhorted the alliance to prepare for a possible second wave of the coronavirus through a new operation plan, a new stockpile of medical equipment and a new fund to quickly acquire supplies and services.

He also stressed that NATO 2030 was recently launched to reflect on where the alliance sees itself 10 years from now and how it plans to continue to keep all the member countries safe.

China is already involved in a long and tense standoff with India along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh which also saw a bloody skirmish on the night of June 16, 2020. The clash at the LAC resulted in the martyrdom of 20 Indian Army soldiers and the death of over 40 Peoples Liberation Army troops.