QUESTION : Discuss the role of India when NAM was formed and give the  importance of the NAM in India’s foreign policy, in contemporary times.






  • 60th Anniversary of NAM




This month has the birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru and 60th anniversary of the Non-Aligned Movement. The concept of a country’s policy not aligning with others can be traced to Congress of Vienna (1814–15) when Switzerland’s neutrality, by which that country would stay away from the conflicts of others, was recognized




  • Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), is an international organization representing the interests and aspirations of developing countries.


  • It was founded and held its first conference (the Belgrade Conference) in 1961.


  • In the early 21st century, the Non-Aligned Movement counted 120 member states.


  • The Non-Aligned Movement was formed during the Cold War, on the initiative of then-Yugoslav President, as an organization of States 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.




  • Respect for fundamental human rights and the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.


  • Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.


  • Recognition of the equality of all races and the equality of all nations, large and small.


  • Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.


  • Respect for the right of each nation’s rights to defend itself singly or collectively


  • Abstention from the use of arrangements of collective defense arrangements to serve the interests of any of the big powers, and abstention by any country from exerting pressures on other countries.


  • Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.


  • Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration, or judicial settlement, and other peaceful means of the party owns choice.


  • Promotion of mutual interests and co-operation.


  • Respect for justice and international obligations.




  • 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.


  • Facilitating a restructuring of the international economic order.




The ideological base of Indian non-alignment began with Nehru’s idealism.


  • India had a civilized mission for mankind, which was in line with Nehru’s desire to innovate in world politics and his concept of modernity.


  • Nehru was opposed to the conformity in the Cold War required by both sides (USA and Soviet Union) in the Cold War.


o His opposition to the coalition was justified by the creation of American arms for Pakistan and Western-led military blocs in Asia from 1954.


  • As per Nehru’s policy, non-alignment was the least expensive policy to boost India’s diplomatic presence.


  • India, by maintaining non-aligned stance, was able to secure economic assistance from abroad and played a lone hand against colonialism.


  • Even after the death of Nehru, some features of his foreign policy were retained to maintain diplomatic flexibility that improved economic condition of India.




  • India played a prominent role as a facilitator in the Geneva Peace Conference on Indochina in 1954, which marked the age of non-alignment.


  • There was difficulty in finding a definition for this policy, leading to a credibility gap between theory and practice.


  • In the early years, there was economic dependence on donor countries that were members of all Western military treaties.


  • Indian equidistance to both Koreas (North and south) and both Vietnams (south and north) was shown by India recognising neither.


o However, India recognised one party in the two Chinas and two Germanies. This somewhat showed contradiction in India’s non-aligned foreign policy at one point.




  • When Yugoslavia and Egypt became non-aligned in 1961, Nehru did not support them as he thought that a coalition or movement of non-aligned nations was a contradiction in terms.


  • Nehru’s doubts were confirmed when only two members of the conference, Cyprus, and Ethiopia, supported India in the war with China.


  • There was an abundance of differing alignments among the members of NAM.


  • Among the Non-Aligned Movement’s members, there were many differences.


o These differences arose by not implementing their own precepts of human rights as well as avoided peaceful settlement of disputes.


  • There was lack of collective action and collective self-reliance, and the non-establishment of a uniform international economic or information order.


  • Non-alignment shifted from pragmatism under Indira Gandhi and opportunism after the dissolution of the former Soviet Union to the quasi-alignment it is today.




  • The NAM has a space for dialogue talks between the developing world where it can give more importance to its principles of multilateralism, equality, and mutual understanding in attempting to become a stronger voice of developing nations.


  • Countries that are eager to join NAM movement should be given an opportunity to share their problems and subsequently help them to find a solution.


  • The Bandung Principles have adopted at the Havana Summit in the Declaration on the Purposes and Principles and the NAM Role in the Present International Juncture.


  • The best way to get a sense of the NAM in the 21st century is to summarize its media communication where focus will be on:


o Strengthening and revitalization of the NAM


o Strengthening international peace and security


o The right to self-determination


o Disarmament and a nuclear-free Middle East.


o The protection and promotion of Human Rights and the principles of the UN Charter.




Given the state of India-China relations, it is difficult to see any future for Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) or its various institutional offspring. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has disappeared into oblivion. Only a few of our serving diplomats can tell what happened in the last NAM or where the next one will be held.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *