Two more SNP cabinet secretaries have backed a proposal to reverse the party's long-standing opposition to Nato.
Finance Secretary John Swinney and Health Secretary Alex Neil join First Minister Alex Salmond and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in supporting the U-turn, which would see an independent SNP-led Scotland remain in Nato if agreement is reached on the withdrawal of Trident.
They face opposition from eight backbench MSPs who have tabled an amendment to the motion to maintain the party's opposition to the nuclear armed military alliance.
The issue will be debated at the SNP conference next month.
Mr Swinney said: "Northern Europe faces particular challenges which we must resolve together. All of our North Sea neighbours do this through Nato and we should be in this strong position too."
Mr Neil said: "We should not be sending out an international message that the first thing an independent Scotland will do is walk away from our friends."
SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson, who has tabled the pro-Nato motion, said: "John Swinney and Alex Neil reflect the opinions of many SNP members who like me believe we should work with our neighbours and allies in Nato."
A recent opinion poll conducted by YouGov showed that 75% of respondents wished an independent Scotland to remain within Nato and 11% wanted to withdraw.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents thought that Scotland would be safer by remaining within Nato while 5% believe Scotland would be safer if it left Nato and more women than men think Scotland will be safer within Nato.
The opinion poll findings follow an academic study of more than 7,000 SNP members by Strathclyde University which showed support among SNP members to remain in Nato at 52% while 22% were opposed.