Relevance of Non Aligned Movement

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The 18th mid-term ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was held in Azerbaijan in the month of April.


What is NAM?:

  • Non-Aligned Movement(NAM) was formed in the backdrop of the end of Second World War when the world was bipolar with countries allying either with the USA or the USSR.
  • The newly Independent countries including India felt that alliance with either of the two blocs would impede the individual growth and development of the nation.
  • With the disintegration of USSR and the end of bipolarity the very reason for the existence of NAM came to be questioned.
  • With the rise of many regional and multilateral groupings, a section of the academia believe that NAM has been sidelined.


India and NAM:

Being the largest member-state of NAM, India has been one of the leaders of the movement since the time of Jawaharlal Nehru, one of the founding fathers of this movement.(Sukarno, Josip Broz Tito, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Kwame Nkrumah were the other founding fathers).


NAM in the cold war era:

Positive Role:

  • NAM played an important role during the Cold War years in furthering many of the causes that India advocated like:
  • Decolonisation
  • End to apartheid
  • Global nuclear disarmament
  • Ushering in of new international economic and information orders

Negative Role:

  • 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.


Relevance of NAM:

  • Can be used as a platform to bring about disarmament.
  • 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.


Why India’s Non Aligned Credentials are being questioned?

  • India joined the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, a coalition seen by many as a counterforce to China’s rise in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Perception in some quarters that India is well-inclined towards the U.S. and its allies, while it has simultaneously allowed a drift away from its old allies such as Russia.
  • Russia’s drift from India and the emergence of a Russia-China-Pakistan trilateral.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s skipped the 17th Non Aligned Movement (NAM) summit.
  • Rising influence of BRICS.


Way Ahead:

  • Non alignment as well as Non Aligned movement will always be relevant.
  • India has a responsibility as the leader of the South Bloc hence should make use of NAM to protect the interest of smaller nations.
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