NAM Summit: Is India & Iran Coming Closer: Civil Services Mentor Magazine October 2012

NAM Summit: Is India & Iran Coming Closer

NAM Summit: Is India & Iran Coming Closer

Amid the 16th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference, the biggest gathering of
international dignitaries in the Islamic Republic’s 33-year history, northern
Tehran has become a ghost town. The 16th NAM (Non- ligned Movement) summit was
held at Tehran, Iran on 30-31 August 2012.The theme of the summit was Lasting
Peace through Joint Global Governance. At the Tehran Summit , the Chairmanship
of NAM was passed on from Egypt to Iran in accordance with the NAM’s practice of
regional rotation. The NAM meeting in Tehran was held in three phases:
preparatory senior officials meeting on 26-27 August, ministerial level meeting
on 28- 9 August, and the summit on 30-31 August. Heads of the government from
over 100 countries participated in the Tehran Summit to discuss the new global
challenges. At the end of the summit, the outcome documents were adopted which
put emphasis on peace. Participants called for fundamental changes in global
governance and collective management of the world as the precondition of
establishing peace, and all of them expressed the call for avoiding conflicts in
the world. Venezuela was selected the host for the 17th NAM Summit in 2015 and
two nations, namely Azerbaijan Republic and Fiji, were accepted as the new
members of the organization.The NAM was founded in the former Yugoslavia in
1961. It represents almost two-thirds of the UN members and about 55 percent of
the world population. India expressed support for popular aspirations for a
democratic order in Syria while cautioning against external intervention. India
urged NAM to take a clear stand on Syria. Iran condemned the West’s policy of
intimidation against other nations and sought NAM’s support to end tough
West-sponsored sanctions against it over its nuclear programme, as officials
from 120 countries, including India, gathered here for the 16th NAM summit. “We
believe that adopting worn-out policies based on intimidation and humiliation is
not only unjust and unjustifiable but also weakens international cooperation for
the materialisation of the goals and objectives of the UN charter,” Iranian
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said.

Iran is facing a series of tough UN and Western economic and financial
sanctions crippling its oil and gas industry over its nuclear programme, which
it calls peaceful. However, West accuses Iran of attempting to develop nuclear
weapons. The officials from 120 NAM member states met to work on the agenda of
the heads-of-state summit to be held later. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
attended the  Summit, which was preceded by crucial bilateral talks with
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei and Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Also on the sidelines of the meeting, India, Iran and
Afghanistan hold a strategic trilateral meet in which key issues, including
regional security and economic situation and best utilisation of Chabahar Port,
a significant commercial venture, were discussed.

India, Iran and Afghanistan hold talks on giving India greater access to
landlocked Afghanistan, a move that could ease Iran’s isolation in the region.
The three countries will meet Sunday to discuss how best to use the southeastern
Iranian port of Chahbahar and develop road and rail links from there to
Afghanistan, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters. As troops from the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014,
India fears the possibility that the country would fall into the hands of a
Taliban-led regime, endangering many of India’s interests. India has been one of
the largest contributors of development aid to Afghanistan. Over the past
decade, it has spent more than $2 billion to help build infrastructure,
including roads, power projects and hospitals.

For India the shortest and most economical route for sending supplies to
Afghanistan would be by road through Pakistan, but its decades long rival has
denied New Delhi road access to Kabul, making the route through Iran all the
more significant. Iran also hopes to develop an industrial zone near Chahbahar
and wants to attract foreign investment to set up industries there, Mr. Mathai
said. The talks came days ahead of a nonaligned summit meeting hosted by Iran in
which leaders of some 120 countries were expected to participate. Indian Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, who will be in Tehran to attend the summit, is to meet
with Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

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