Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) | UPSC Notes

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) | UPSC Notes

• During the Cold War, the Non-Aligned Movement was made up of countries that didn’t want to join the United States or the Soviet Union, but instead wanted to stay independent or neutral.

• The idea for the group began in 1955 at the Asia-Africa Bandung Conference in Indonesia, where people talked about how to help each other.

In September 1961, the first NAM Summit Conference was held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

As of April 2018, it had 120 members, including 53 countries from Africa, 39 countries from Asia, 26 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean, and two countries from Europe (Belarus and Azerbaijan). Observers at NAM include 17 countries and 10 foreign organisations.

The Non-Aligned Movement was started and held its first conference (the Belgrade Conference) in 1961. It was led by Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Sukarno of Indonesia. Non-alignment with NAM doesn’t mean that a state is neutral on global problems; it has always been a peaceful way to get involved in international politics.


Since J.L. Nehru was one of the group’s founders, the Panchsheel values were a big part of how the NAM works.

Respect the ideals set out in the United Nations’ charter and international law.

Respect the sovereignty, sovereign equality, and territorial unity of all states.

All foreign conflicts should be settled peacefully in line with the UN Charter.

Respect for the different ways that countries and peoples are run politically, economically, socially, and culturally.

Defending and promoting shared goals, justice, and cooperation, despite differences in the political, economic, and social systems of the states, on the basis of mutual respect and equal rights.

Respect the natural right of each person or group to defend themselves or themselves as a group, as stated in the UN charter.

Not getting involved in the business of other countries. No state or group of states has the right to get involved directly or indirectly in the internal issues of another state, no matter what the reason is.

Promoting and defending multilateralism and multilateral organisations as the best ways to solve the issues facing humanity through discussion and cooperation.


• NAM has tried to “make its own way in world politics so that member states don’t become pawns in the fights between the big powers.”

It says that the right to independent judgement, the fight against imperialism and neo-colonialism, and the use of moderation in relations with all big powers are the three main things that have shaped its approach. At the moment, another goal is to help facilitate a restructuring of the international economic order.

NAM During the Cold War

• Against Apartheid: The crime of apartheid was very common in African countries like South Africa, and it was on the NAM’s agenda from the very first meeting. During the 2nd NAM meeting in Cairo, the South African government was told to stop the unfair practises of apartheid.

ALSO READ  Disaster Management UPSC Notes - [Important Topics Covered]

• Disarmament: The Non-aligned Movement is always calling for peace, an end to the arms race, and for all states to live together in peace. India brought a written resolution to the General Assembly that said using nuclear weapons would be against the United Nations’ charter and a crime against humanity, so it should be banned.

• UNSC reforms: From the beginning, NAM was in favour of UNSC reforms and against the US and USSR having too much power. It wanted the UNSC to be more inclusive by having countries from the third world on it. At the 17th NAM meeting in Venezuela, members said the same thing.

• Failed to solve regional issues. During the Cold War, regional conflicts between India and China and India and Pakistan made things worse in South Asia. NAM didn’t do enough to stop conflicts in the area, which made the area even more dangerous and led to the spread of nuclear weapons.

Where India Stands

• India was one of the founding members of the NAM and has the most members. Up until the 1970s, India was an active player in NAM meetings. However, India’s preference for the former USSR caused confusion among the smaller members. It hurt the NAM, and small countries moved towards either the US or the USSR.

• As the USSR fell apart even more, the US became the only major power in the world. India’s New Economic Policy and its leaning towards the US made people wonder how serious India was about not aligning itself with any other country.

In 2016, India’s Prime Minister didn’t go to the 17th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, which was held in Venezuela. This was only the second time that a Head of State didn’t go to a NAM conference, and it showed that NAM was losing importance for India in a unipolar world, especially after the founding members didn’t help India when it was in trouble. For example, during the 1962 War with China, Ghana and Indonesia took stances that were clearly in favour of China. During the wars of 1965 and 1971, Indonesia and Egypt were against India and helped Pakistan.

• India, in particular, but also most of the other NAM countries, have joined the liberal economic order in different ways and gained from it.

• India is a member of the G20 and has said that it is a nuclear weapons power. It has also pretty much given up on the call for the world to get rid of its nuclear weapons.

ALSO READ  India-ASEAN Relations (Southeast Asia) : UPSC Notes

• India has joined forces with both new and old world powers. Many people see the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue as a counterforce to China’s rise in the Indo-Pacific and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is run by China. India’s decision to join the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue shows that it is trying to find a balance in the new world order.

• India is working hard for a world with more than one power, and it is making itself known as a player. The NAM beliefs are very close to the idea of a multipolar world order.

Emerging Global Order

NAM needs to adapt and change to meet new challenges and geopolitical realities, such as:

• The world is once again moving towards a two-pole system, with the US on one side and China and Russia on the other. Syria, which is in the middle of a civil war, is a good example of this because both the US and Russia are trying to show who is in charge there.

• Tensions are rising in the Indo-Pacific area because China is making claims and the US is trying to stop China from expanding.

• There are a lot of people moving around in Europe and Asia because of unstable governments and racial conflicts in other parts of the world.

• The problem of global climate change and the occurrence of major tragedies are making it more important to find a global solution.

• Changing US policies, protectionism, terrorists, and making the Middle East nuclear.

• The creation of several regional economic groups like TPP and RCEP and the decline of the WTO as an international body.

How NAM is Important

NAM is still important because of its platform and its values.

• World peace: NAM has worked hard to keep the peace around the world.

It still stands by the beliefs, ideas, and goals it was founded on, which were to make the world peaceful and prosperous. It made it illegal to invade any country and worked towards a world without weapons.

• Territorial integrity and sovereignty. The NAM stands by this concept, which has been shown to be important over and over again by the idea of keeping each country’s independence.

• Third World nations: Since other developed countries have taken advantage of Third World countries for a long time, they have had to deal with social and economic problems. The NAM served as a guardian for these small countries against the western hegemony.

• Support for the UN: The NAM is made up of 118 poor countries, and the majority of them are members of the UN General Assembly. It has two-thirds of the members of the General Assembly. Because of this, NAM members are an important group in the UN that blocks votes.

• Fair world order: The NAM works for a fair world order. It can be a bridge between the different political and ideological views that occur around the world.

ALSO READ  Family, Household, and Marriage | Sociology Optional UPSC (Notes)

• In the interest of developing countries: If a disagreement arises between a developed country and a developing country over, say, the WTO, then the NAM acts as a platform to negotiate and settle the dispute in a way that is good for each member country.

• Cultural diversity and human rights: In a world with a lot of gross violations of human rights, it can give people a place to talk about these problems and find solutions based on its ideals.

• Sustainable development: NAM backed the idea of sustainable development and can lead the world towards sustainability. Can be used as a bigger stage to reach agreements on important global problems like climate change, migration, and global terrorism.

• Economic growth: The NAM countries have a lot going for them, like a good population, high demand, and a good position. By working together, their economies can grow faster and for longer. Can be an option to TPP and RCEP, which are regional groups.

Way Forward

• The idea of the NAM will never be out of date, because it gives its members a strong foundation for their foreign policy.

• It should be thought of as “strategic autonomy,” which is what the world needs right now. The NAM’s ideas can still help the world’s countries move in the right direction.

• NAM is a place where India can use its “soft power” and be a leader for smaller countries on international platforms.

• In June 2019, the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, which is a meeting of the heads of state or government of non-aligned countries, will take place in Azerbaijan. Platform should be used to reach agreements on a wide range of world problems.

• It should be used as a place to talk about global problems like terrorism, climate change, trade protectionism, and others.

• The NAM platform can be used to get countries in South-East Asia like Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines to stand up to China’s claims in the South China Sea and other island and border conflicts.

• The NAM can be a place for Afro-Asian countries to work together, and it can give poor African countries a strong position from which to negotiate with China and the US for economic growth without giving up control over their own land.