NON ALIGNMENT MOVEMENT (NAM)
Basics and Backgrounds
- Founded in 1961 in
- It was created by the heads of Yugoslavia, India, Egypt, Ghana and Indonesia.
- All five leaders believed that developing countries should not help either the Western or Eastern blocs in the Cold War.
- The Non-Aligned Movement was formed during the Cold War as an organization of States that did not seek to formally align themselves with either the United States or the Soviet Union, but sought to remain independent or neutral.
- It was created by Yugoslavia’s President, Josip Broz Tito, India’s first PM, Jawaharlal Nehru, Egypt’s second President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah, and Indonesia’s first President, Sukarno.
- The movement represented the interests and priorities of developing countries. The Movement has its origin in the Asia-Africa Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in
- As a condition for membership, the states of the NAM cannot be part of a multilateral military alliance (such as the NATO) or have signed a bilateral military agreement with one of the “big powers” involved in Great Power conflicts.
The principles of NAM was largely guided by Panchsheel principles, some of them are:
- Respect for the principles enshrined in the charter of the United Nations and international law.
- Respect for sovereignty, sovereign equality and territorial integrity of all States.
- Peaceful settlement of all international conflicts in accordance with the charter of the United Nations.
- Respect for the political, economic, social and cultural diversity of countries and peoples.
- Defence and promotion of shared interests, justice and cooperation, regardless of the differences existing in the political, economic and social systems of the States, on the basis of mutual respect and the equality of rights.
- Respect for the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence, in accordance with the charter of the United Nations
- Non-interference in the internal affairs of States. No State or group of States has the right to intervene either directly or indirectly, whatever the motive, in the internal affairs of any other State.
- Promotion and defence of multilateralism and multilateral organisations as the appropriate frameworks to resolve, through dialogue and cooperation, the problems affecting humankind.
- NAM has sought to “create an independent path in world politics that would not result in member States becoming pawns in the struggles between the major powers.”
- It identifies the right of independent judgment, the struggle against imperialism and neo-colonialism, and the use of moderation in relations with all big powers as the three basic elements that have influenced its approach.
- At present, an additional goal is facilitating a restructuring of the international economic order.
NAM in Cold War Era
|Positive Role||Negative Role|
|§ NAM played an important role during the Cold War years in furthering many of the causes that India advocated like:
§ End to apartheid
§ Global nuclear disarmament
§ Ushering in of new international economic and information orders
|§ Could not prevent India-Pakistan and Indo-China wars.
§ During the wars, NAM members invariably adopted diplomatic positions that were not favourable towards or supportive of India.
§ Taking a broader perspective:
§ Non-alignment stood for policy autonomy for the erstwhile newly independent countries. 2)These countries banded together because of their shared traditions and histories, which included anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism and anti-racism.
§ The idea behind non-alignment thus conceived was to promote peace and security in a global arena where superpowers were constantly posturing to achieve their hegemonic ambitions.
How has NAM benefitted India?
- India being a founder and largest member in NAM was an active participant in NAM meetings till 1970s but India’s inclination towards erstwhile USSR created confusions in smaller members. It led to the weakening of NAM and small nations drifted towards either US or USSR.
- Further disintegration of USSR led the unipolar world order dominated by US. India’s New Economic Policy and inclination towards US raised questions over India’s seriousness over non alignment.
- Prime Minister of India skipped the 17th Non Aligned Movement (NAM) summit held in Venezuela in 2016, it was only second such instance when Head of a state didn’t participate in NAM conference.
- Moreover, NAM continued losing relevance for India in a unipolar world, especially after the founding members failed to support India during crisis. For instance, during 1962 War with China, Ghana and Indonesia, adopted explicitly pro-China positions. During 1965 and 1971 wars, Indonesia and Egypt took an anti India stance and supported Pakistan.
- India in particular, but also most other NAM countries, have integrated themselves to varying degrees within the liberal economic order and have benefited from it.
- India is a member of the G20 and has declared itself as a nuclear weapons power and has for all practical purposes abandoned the call for global nuclear disarmament.
- India has also engaged itself with new and old global powers. India joining the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a coalition seen by many as a counterforce to China’s rise in the Indo-Pacific and Shanghai cooperation organisation led by China shown India’s balancing approach in new world order.
- India is striving hard for a multipolar world order and asserting itself as one of the player. Multi polar world order is very much closed to NAM principles.
- The end of cold war lead to unipolar world and now tending towards multi-polarity. The NAM is now reached irrelevance.
- NAM could not push for reforms in the global bodies like UN, IMF and WTO.
- Inability to find solution to the West-Asian crisis. Withdrawal of one of the founder members- Egypt, after the Arab Spring.
- Most of the members are economically weak; hence they have no say in world politics or economy.
- World has again moved towards bi-polarity, one led by USand other by China-Russia. The war torn syria is prime example of this, where both US and Russia is asserting power.
- The escalating tension in Indo-pacificregion due to China’s assertion and US acting as a counterweight to check the Chinese expansionist policy.
- The large scale migration in Europe and Asiadue to the unstable regimes and ethnic conflict in different parts of world.
- Issue of global climate changeand occurrence of catastrophic disasters raising demand to form global consensus to deal with it.
- Changing US policies,protectionism, prevalent terrorism and nuclearisation of middle east.
- Formation of multiple regional economic groupingslike TPP and RCEP and fading away of multilateral bodies WTO from global arena.
Relevance of NAM
- Can be used as a platform to bring about
- Voice of the South Bloc (Third World Countries)
- Stability in the rising multipolar world order
- Can help to contain the rise of China by raising a collective voice.
- A platform where India’s Leadership is recognized
- A unique platform of countries with dissimilar backgrounds and interests
- Can be used to gather support for India’s quest to become a permanent member of the UNSC.
Non Alignment Movement Virtual Summit
- The virtual Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Contact Group Summit held through video conferencing
- Theme: “United against Covid-19”.
- The meeting was convened at the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, in his capacity as chair of the Non Aligned Movement.
- Moreover 30 Heads of State and other leaders had joined the Summit.
- The Summit was also addressed by the UN General Assembly president and World Health Organisation (WHO) chief.
- It was the first time that Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in a NAM Summit since he assumed the office in 2014.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to skip the NAM Summitin 2016 and in 2019.
- India’s Role in Fight Against Covid-19:
- India is regarded as the pharmacy of the world especially for affordable medicines.
- Despite its own needs during Covid-19 pandemic, it has ensured supply of medicines to 123 partner countries including 59 NAM members.
- India is also active in global efforts to develop remedies and vaccines for Covid-19.
- Need for the New Template of Globalisation:
- India stated that Covid-19 has shown limitations of the existing international system. The world needs more representative international institutions and thus world order should be more representative.
- Thus, in the post-Covid world, a new template of globalisation, based on fairness, equality, and humanity is needed.
- International Cooperation:
- NAM should call upon the international community and the WHO to focus on building health-capacity in developing countries.
- World needs to ensure equitable, affordable and timely access to health products and technologies for all.
- Other Issues:
- India also flagged the issues of “terrorism” and “fake news”, calling them “deadly viruses” at a time when the world fights the novel coronavirus.
- The above issues divide communities and countries creating difficult situations.
- NAM as a concept can never be irrelevant, principally it provides a strong base to foreign policy of its members.
- It should be seen as “Strategic Autonomy”, which is the need of the hour of today’s world. The principles of NAM still can guide the nations towards it.
- NAM is a platform where India can assert its soft power and provide an active leadership and by being a torchbearer for smaller countries at multilateral platforms.
- Platform like Non Aligned Movement should be used for consensus making on spectrum of global issues like terrorism, climate change and trade protectionism and others.
- NAM platform can be used to garner support by South-East Asian countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines against Chinese assertion in South China Sea and related island and border disputes.
- NAM can provide a platform for Afro-Asian cooperation and a strong position for poor African nation to have healthy negotiations with China and US for economic development without compromising the sovereignty of their land.