22:40 GMT27 July 2021
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    NATO was formed in 1949 to provide collective security against the threat posed by the Soviet Union, according to the Alliance. Seventy-two years later, the Soviets have been replaced by a global pandemic in validating NATO's existence.

    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be attending the NATO summit in Brussels, the first meeting of Alliance members since the onset of COVID-19.

    Johnson will address the summit, saying that the global recovery from coronavirus must be underpinned by shared security.

    It has been even harder to tackle the pandemic due to cyberattacks and destabilising conflicts.

    The coronavirus pandemic has therefore reinforced the value of NATO and allies must redouble their commitment to the alliance and ensure it adapts to meet the challenges of the future, the PM will argue

    In June 2020, NATO defence ministers agreed to a new "Operations Plan" that can be activated at any time during the COVID-19 crisis, in future pandemics, or other large-scale medical emergencies.

    NATO's Pandemic Response Trust Fund now maintains a stockpile of medical equipment and supplies to be able to provide immediate relief to allies or partners in need. 

    NATO says it is "the practical means through which the security of North America and Europe are permanently tied together" and now COVID-19 has been added to the list of things bonding membering countries together.

    PM Johnson's view is that NATO should be investing in research and development to better fight cyber threats and the impact of climate change on the global system. The British prime minister is additionally expected to remind everyone that the UK has invested £24.1 billion in its defence capability.

    ​Britain is Europe's leading contributor to NATO and is involved in the deployment of a carrier strike group participating in exercises in the Mediterranean alongside allies before moving on to Indo-China.

    The NATO summit will be looking at strengthening political consultations, reinforcing collective defence, and enhancing the resilience of infrastructure and supply chains. Afghanistan, Russia, and support for Ukraine and Georgia will also feature in the meetings.

    COVID-19, Boris Johnson, NATO
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