What’s is in NAM?
General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.
Sub-Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Delhi’s renewed engagement is based on the bet that NAM remains a critical forum for pursuing India’s global interests.
Highlights of the online summit
- The online NAM Contact Group Summit on “United against COVID-19” was hosted by current NAM Chairman and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.
- The NAM leaders announced the creation of a task force to identify requirements of member countries through a common database reflecting their basic medical, social and humanitarian needs in the fight against COVID-19.
Non-Alignment movement relevance in today’s scenario:
- Those who say the NAM is a relic of the Cold War must acknowledge that a new Cold War is beginning to unfold, this time between the US and China. As the conflict between the world’s two most important powers envelops all dimensions of international society, India has every reason to try and preserve some political space in between the two.
- Second, in the last few years, Delhi paid lip-service to the NAM but devoted a lot of diplomatic energy to forums like BRICS. Given the Russian and Chinese leadership of BRICS, Delhi inevitably began to tamely echo the international positions of Moscow and Beijing rather than represent voices of the Global South.
- Finally, as a nation seeking to become an independent pole in global affairs, India could do more with forums like the NAM in mobilising support on issues of interest to Delhi.
- An independent Indian line backed by strong support within the NAM can make a big difference to the outcomes of the impending contentions at the World Health Assembly later this month on reviewing the WHO’s performance during the COVID crisis.
- One of the challenges of the NAM in the 21st century has been to reassess its identity and purpose in the post-Cold War era.
- The movement has continued to advocate for international cooperation, multilateralism, and national self-determination, but it has also been increasingly vocal against the inequities of the world economic order.
- On the contrary, from the founding of the NAM, its stated aim has been to give a voice to developing countries and to encourage their concerted action in world affairs.
- 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.
- The basic concept for the group originated in 1955 during discussions that took place at the Asia-Africa Bandung Conference held in Indonesia.
- The first NAM Summit Conference took place in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in September 1961.
- It has 120 members as on April 2018 comprising 53 countries from Africa, 39 from Asia, 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 2 from Europe (Belarus, Azerbaijan). There are 17 countries and 10 international organizations that are Observers at NAM.
- The Non-Aligned Movement was founded and held its first conference (the Belgrade Conference) in 1961 under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Sukarno of Indonesia.
- The purpose of the organization was enumerated in Havana Declaration of 1979 to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries” in their struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign subjugation.
- During the cold war era the NAM played a vital role in stabilizing the world order and preserving peace and security.
- Non-alignment of NAM doesn’t mean the neutrality of state on global issues, it was always a peaceful intervention in world politics.
As J.L Nehru was founding members, the principles of NAM were 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
- Against Apartheid: The evil of apartheid was massively prevalent in African countries like South Africa, its was on the agenda of NAM right from first conference. During 2nd NAM conference at Cairo the government of South Africa was warned against the discriminatory practices of apartheid.
- Disarmament: The Non-aligned Movement repeatedly comes out for maintenance of peace,’the cessation of arms race and the peaceful coexistence of all States. In the General Assembly, India submitted a draft resolution declaring that the use of nuclear weapons would be against the charter of the United Nations and crime against humanity and should therefore be prohibited.
- UNSC reforms: Right from its inception NAM was in the favour of UNSC reforms, it was against the domination of US and USSR. It wanted the representation of third world countries to make UNSC more democratic. Members echoed with same demand at 17th NAM conference at Venezuela.
- Failed to resolve regional tensions: In the era of cold war the tension in South Asia escalated due to regional conflict between India- China and India-Pakistan. NAM failed to avoid tensions in the region, that further led to the the nuclearisation of the region.
- 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 players.
- Multi polar world order is very much closed to NAM principles.
- 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.