AN independent Scotland would follow in the footsteps of Sweden by joining Nato while rejecting being a permanent site for nuclear weapons, the SNP have said.

Sweden is set to join the military alliance next month but Pal Johnson, the country’s defence minister, has ruled out permanent bases including deployment of the alliance’s nuclear arsenal.

Anti-independence campaigners have said the SNP’s opposition to Trident could stand in the way of Scotland joining Nato but the party will be reassured by the position Sweden has taken.

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Sweden and Finland are expected to join Nato by the end of next month once Turkey ratifies their membership application with the latter also expected to set conditions on nuclear weapons after polling showed public opposition. 

Dave Doogan, the SNP defence spokesperson at Westminster, told a recent meeting of the Nato parliamentary assembly in Washington that it needed to “recognise the benefits of Finland and Sweden joining Nato far outweigh any principled domestic stance on hosting or sharing obligations or commitments.”

On Thursday, Doogan said: “The idea that states — applicant or members — could be somehow coerced to become host states against their will is anathema to the democratic foundations of Nato.

“For Scotland’s part, Nato membership is at the core of our independent defence and security posture, adding value, plurality and capability together with our incredibly important geostrategic location. Like Sweden, Scotland will not host nuclear weapons.”

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Doogan said saying no to being a nuclear host would not diminish the country’s value to Nato.

The Scottish Greens – the other pro-independence party at Holyrood - are against joining Nato.

Given the SNP’s policy of removing Trident from the Clyde within three years of any vote for independence, Doogan said it was “inconceivable” they would then invite nuclear weapons in as an independent actor.

Officials said Sweden would follow Nato’s “enhanced forward presence” model in the Baltic states, which involves the deployment of troops on rotation rather than creating permanent bases.