Non Alignment Movement Summit
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Baljit Dhaka

Non Alignment Movement Summit

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Non-Alignment Movement Summit

Why in news?

  • Recently, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu represented India at the 18th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Baku, Azerbaijan in October, marking the second time in a row when the Prime Minister did not attend.

More about the news:

  • The theme of the summit: ‘Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of the contemporary world’.
  • This is the second time in a row that PM Narendra Modi will skip the summit, marking India’s transformation from a non-aligned country to one which is supposedly multi-aligned. This is seen as an indication that NAM is losing relevance in the present global order.

ABOUT NAM:

  • After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide.
  • Its membership is particularly concentrated in countries considered to be developing or part of the Third World. It also aims at facilitating South-South cooperation.
  • The movement had its origins in the 1947 Asian Relations Meeting in New Delhi and the 1955 Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia through an initiative of the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito.
  • India also participated in the 1961 Belgrade Conference that officially established the Nonaligned Movement.
  • The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.
  • It originated out of the desire of decolonized states to protect their newly obtained independence in an international environment marred by Cold War politics.

Its principles include:

  1. Mutual respect's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  2. Mutual non-aggression.
  3. Mutual non-interference in domestic affairs.
  4. Equality and mutual benefit.
  5. Peaceful coexistence

Is NAM losing relevance?

Arguments in favor:

  • NAM is seen as based on alignments rooted in the legacies of colonialism and the ideology of the Cold War. With the end of the cold war and changing, world order NAM is seen as losing its relevance.
  • Several members of the NAM including India have been strengthening their engagement with the developed world to invite capital, technology, better management practices, larger markets, etc to improve the economic conditions of their citizens. These reduce the scope for effective agenda for NAM bringing countries together.
  • Confidence in and credibility of the movement has suffered in recent years because it has been relegated to the status of a talk-shop as it has been unable to adequately address problems and threats that accost the developing world.
  • Also, there has been a scant agreement between members on policies required to address challenges related to ensuring peace, security, and economic development of developing countries.
  • Alternative platforms like BRICS, IBSA, SCO, and G20, etc have emerged with overlapping agendas, reducing the need and scope for NAM.

Arguments against:

  • The philosophy and ideology of ''Non-alignment'' emphasize strategic independence and autonomy, and the ''Non-Aligned Movement'' seeks to take a collective position on challenges faced by the developing world. These principles shall always remain relevant.
  • NAM was created to provide a platform for the autonomy of policy for newly independent and developing nations, an objective that remains relevant today.
  • Developing countries share much in common, have similar experiences and shared aspirations, even as they represent diverse peoples, circumstances, and levels of development. NAM is a large grouping that can shape global responses to such challenges, as it has done in the past.
  • NAM remains an important platform for the leaders of the countries to meet and discuss with each other on issues of bilateral, regional, and international concerns.

REJUVENATING NAM:

  • Structural change - Establishment of a permanent secretariat that 120 member organization lacks at present.
  • Symbolic changes - the name of the organization, the Non-Aligned Movement, is a misnomer. As non-alignment was not the only goal of the NAM; it was formed on diverse objectives.
  • Policy/agenda changes - Originally, the NAM was launched as a political entity. Later in the process, it adopted economic issues as several members faced some very serious economic problems such as acute poverty and underdevelopment.
  • Thus, the organization evolved into a politico-economic institution. This should continue. The reformed and reshaped organization should dedicate equal weight to political and economic issues facing the Global South. The most important role for NAM today lies in framing a concrete economic agenda for a just and fair international economic order especially in an age of rising protectionism tendencies.
  • While most of the concerns of NAM have been addressed, some old issues persist such as hunger, poverty, and disease- which need to be addressed through enhanced south-south collaboration.
  • Newer global issues such as global warming, diseases, drug trafficking, terrorism, rising digital divide, ethnic nationalism, and regional wars call for reform of the group to include wider issues.
  • Neo-colonialism with China’s debt-trap diplomacy is increasingly becoming a global concern that groups need to fight together.

Thus, it is important that NAM that represents two-thirds of the world’s population - continues to work together and take the lead in building multilateral governance structures that are capable of meeting these challenges.