Ministry of External Affairs : Important Updates

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Virtual Summit


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)

Mains level: NAM, it's aims and objective, current role of NAM; India's past, present and future link to NAM

PM Modi has for the first addressed the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit since assuming office in 2014.

Possible mains question-

Q. Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has lost its relevance in the new era of multipolar world. Comment.

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.

What is the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)?

  • The NAM is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.
  • The group was started in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1961.
  • After the UN, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide.

Its formation

  • NAM emerged in the context of the wave of decolonization that followed World War II.
  • 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.
  • All five leaders believed that developing countries should not help either the Western or Eastern blocs in the Cold War.
  • 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.
  • However, its idea does not signify that a state ought to remain passive or even neutral in international politics.

Terms of summits

  • Unlike the UN or the Organization of American States, the NAM has no formal constitution or permanent secretariat.
  • All members of the NAM have equal weight within its organization.
  • The movement’s positions are reached by consensus in the Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government, which usually convenes every three years.
  • The administration of the organization is the responsibility of the country holding the chair, a position that rotates at every summit.
  • The ministers of foreign affairs of the member states meet more regularly in order to discuss common challenges, notably at the opening of each regular session of the UN General Assembly.

Its relevance today

  • 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.

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