(Online Course) Essay Writing Skills Improvement Programme: Relevance of NAM Today

Part B – Essays on National & International issues

Relevance of NAM Today

Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say that today we are
living in an altogether new world–the end of communist regimes in Eastern
Europe, 15 new republics in place of the erstwhile Soviet Union. a united
Germany and a new Europe as a socio-economic and political entity. Some people
argue that the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) teas the product of cold war and
bipolarism: and that since the cold tear is ended and the Soviet Union is no
more, NAM has lost its relevance.

It is true that NAM was a child of the cold tear but during
the three decades of its existence it has acquired a life of its own and should
not be defined solely in terms of cold tsar politics. The movement assumed a
dynamism of its own and became preoccupied with Third World issues other than
purely cold war super power rivalry and confrontation.

According ‘to some others NAM’s task has, by and large. been
accom plished. For instance, colonies have gained independence, apartheid is
being dismantled. the cold war is ended. foreign bases are losing relevance and
when alliances are disintegrating there is no more heed for non-alignment.

These people should understand that the main concern of NAM.
both as a national policy of a large number of new states and as an
international move ment. has been the liquidation of economic imperialism to
secure economic growth and development. Besides, there are a number of issues
which NAM has to take tip in the coming years, like the democratisation of
international relations, especially of the UN Security Council, security for
small and weak nations, disarmament, collective measures for achieving economic
progress, lightening the debt burden of the developing world, halting the
deteriorating terms of trade, the North-South dialogue, human rights,
environmental issues, drug trafficking, international terrorism, ethnic and
religious conflicts. nets international economic order. new international
information and technological order, etc.

Secondly, those skeptics who think there is no need for
Non-Align Move ment since alliances are losing their importance should keep in
mind that despite numerous changes in the 350 gears old sovereign-state-system,
including the most recent ones, the system has consistently maintained two
standing features: Great power hegemony and the opposition of the overwhelming
majority of other states to that hegemony. Hence, to the question of
Non-alignment against whom the brief answer is: against the hegemonies or
whoever is dominating the world.

There are others who think that NAM should be disbanded
because its present performance is not as dynamic as it was in the ‘last and it
is characterised by slow response to today’s deep and rapid changes on the
international scene. They cite the example of NAM’s poor response to the recent
Gulf crisis. How ever, organisations do not become irrelevant simply because
they have defects. The decisions about the relevance and rationale of old
organisations should not he taken in haste since time changes everything. Hence,
we should not have second thoughts about the relevance of NAM simply because of
its poor re sponse to the Gulf crisis, just as we do not have about the UNO.

While delivering the Indira Gandhi Memorial Lecture to the
Association of Indian Diplomats former President R. Venkararaman rightly
remarked in this context that “Non-alignment is not an Ism. It cannot become
out-dated any more than common sense can become outdated. The cold war has
ended. That does not make the UNO charter irrelevant. Non-aligned counnies
represent the will and voices of three-fourth of mankind. No nation, no group of
nations can disregard the NAM. There must be something to it fix China to seek
membership and Germany to get observer status of NAM…. From the Fifties
through to the Eighties NAM spearheaded the struggle against colonialism and
racialism. It must today raise its voice against the injustices and inequities
of the emerging 21st century.”

The Non-Aligned Movement is the largest peace movement in the
world. But while dealing with NAM we should make a distinction between Non-align
ment as an International movement and Non-alignment as a Foreign Policy choice.
As an International movement it may have its shortcomings or it may not be
perforating the role assigned to it but NAM as a Foreign Policy choice–an
assertion of independence in foreign affairs-has always remained, still remains
and will always remain valid and relevant. However. both are important and there
cannot be any water-tight compartmentalisation between the two since the success
of one is dependent upon the support of the other.

Relevance of NAM today

“Our approach to peace may then be called “neutrality” if such a nebulous
word can be used to define a policy.”

-Vijayalakshmi Pandit, President, UN General Assembly (1953)

It was this telling statement that perhaps laid bare the
fundamental flaw in her argument and defense of policies such as the Non Aligned
Movement in her book “India’s Foreign Policy”. Not just that, her brother
Jawaharlal Nehru’s mistake with respect to foreign policy was the dichotomous
approach he took on it which he put down as “a choice between peace and the
hydrogen bomb”. Nehru could still be excused on the grounds that perhaps India,
which was making the first steps towards a recovery after two hundred years of
British rule, could not possibly risk entering into a wrong alliance in a post
World War ravaged scenario. However the world since 1945 has changed and hence
it is time that our approach to it should change too.

Taking on this debate ideologically, there are two grounds on
which one can make a case that the Non Aligned Movement of yesteryears has lost
its relevance today.. The belief on which the cornerstone of the Non Aligned
Movement was laid was the fact that all the founding nations (India, Indonesia,
Yugoslavia and Egypt) needed the peace NAM offered them to develop after years
of subjugation. However today, after more than six decades of independence,
though not fully developed, we have made giant strides in many respects. Today
with the second fastest growing economy, largest conventional armed forces,
impeccable track record of democracy, higher literacy, higher living standards
(as compared to 1947), if we have not developed enough to finally come out of
our cocoon then when will we ever do?

Nature does not suffer a vacuum, power least of all. It is
true that with even the United States and the Western World in decline, the
world is increasingly becoming multi-polar. However the latter is also but a
passing phase. The world cannot have so many equals. To quote Orwell, “there
will always be some more equal than the others”. Sooner or later, some nation or
the other will make a bid for the top spot and towards that end will try to
undercut others in the race. Since India is definitely in that race, common
sense dictates that it will ultimately be our alliances that will guarantee our
security from over ambitious competitors. Hence alignment should no longer be an
anathema to us.

The Rise of China

The Middle Kingdom is not shying away from acknowledging
itself as perhaps the next global superpower in a post American world. The
translation of its economic might into diplomatic and military clout has been
steadily going on for some time. There is possibly one nation that can overtake
China’s aspirations of leading the world. India too, is making leaps in the race
to the top. China is fully aware of the threat posed by India. Hence systematic
efforts to stymie the India story are on. A three pronged strategy that is being
adopted by China to ensure that India does not reach a stage where she is too
powerful to be contained comprises:

  • Denial – of India to any influential position such as the UN Security
    Council with the veto power.
  • Provocation – with frequent claims over Arunachal Pradesh, the stapled
    visa issue, etc.
  • Intimidation – with huge infrastructure buildup near the borders.

In fact, it is the belief of some Indian strategists that
China will be attacking India within 2017. Their claims have somewhat been
substantiated by a Wiki leaks disclosure that speaks of a report given by the
Pentagon to the US Congress. The report states that China has been deploying
nuclear capable CCS5- MRBM missiles near its borders with India. (The Indian
Express, 25 August 2011) Now, though one can concede that it is not advisable to
pander to the paranoia of war mongers, there is no harm in hoping for the best
while preparing for the worst. And the latter means a realization that India
needs alliances as she will not be able to withstand a Chinese blitzkrieg on her
own. Russia may not be in her former glory days of the USSR but still wields
enormous power. More importantly, Russia has been an all weather friend to India
and we can safely trust her to get into an alliance with her as a possible
safeguard against China. It was after all the Soviets alone who helped India
withstand the pressure from Pakistan, US and China during the Bangladesh War.
The US may not be best pleased with such a move but will also agree to have a
similar understanding with us as containing China is their greater priority.

The fall of Pakistan

A nation state born of anti India sentiments will never
completely get rid of it, irrespective of the concessions or confidence building
measures we choose to make. At some point, we need to understand that the day
Pakistan chooses to resolve all its problems with India will also be the day it
will lose its legitimacy to exist anymore as a nation (ideologically). Today,
Pakistan is on a downward spiral, its national fabric being torn to shreds by
the fundamentalism and hate that it had hoped to use against India. As it
continues on the path of self destruction, there will definitely be some more
attempts to hold itself together by whipping up the specter of the old enemy –
India. Pakistan may also in the future attack India and though inferior in its
military capabilities, the nation can still damage us considerably. In other
words, while we may emerge victorious we will certainly not emerge unscathed.
Hence it becomes imperative to align with nations such as the United States that
are capable of reigning in Pakistan.

The rise of regionalism

A country that hopes to wield global influence must begin
with wielding regional influence. While India has maintained fairly good
relations in its immediate and extended neighbourhood (exceptions: Pakistan and
China), the zenith of those good relations will only be reached through an
alliance that seeks to protect the interests of each by the others. It is time
for India to not just have ‘cordial relations’ but build credible and long term
alliances with countries such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan,
Mongolia, Burma, Bhutan, Thailand ,etc.

The Changing Role of Foreign Policy

India, in the Nehruvian days, could afford to allow its
foreign policy to be an instrument that would highlight its moral position in
the world. However today the scene has changed and India’s foreign policy is
increasingly becoming a path to secure her energy interests. India’s growth
story also rests on her capabilities to continue finding cheap and reliable
energy suppliers and thus it is time to abandon the moral grandstanding on non
alignment in favour of a pragmatic and well crafted alliance that seeks to
promote national interests at all costs. So while one may still debate on who to
align with, one can no longer tarry on the need to have an alliance. In a
nutshell, the death knell of non alignment has been sounded. Is India listening?

Is the Non-Aligned Movement Still Relevant?

Non alignment, as the word says, means a decision of not associating yourself
with any of the groups. Those people who follow non alignment remain neutral and
do not support any of the groups in conflict, wether those debates are over land
ownership or oil, they support the ideals of soverignty.

But the question remains- Is NAM a relevant body today?

Nihal Rodrigo, a former secretary-general of the South Asian
Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) feels that NAM has still got its
own important role to play, though the body is not as important as it was
considered before. The very purpose of giving birth to NAM was to fight the
bi-polar ideology that existed during the civil war. The group has got its own
political significance.

Ever since its inception in April 1955, the chairmanship has
been rotated every 3 years among the third world countries as well as some of
the developing countries including India.

There is lot of division and conflict on various economic and
political issues within the body itself; seldom do the members totally agree on
any matter. The body does not force upon its members any rules and regulations
of the body.

NAM today, is starting to lose its importance due to its
inefficiency in utilizing its influence on the member countries. On the world
stage because the movement does not account for any major economic power they
are not really holding any clout.

Their power, if any, comes from being consumers of product
and services. To become more of a world leading organization, the movement must
focus on correcting the efficiencies in each member country’s social and
economic issues. They also must do research and have concrete evidence that they
can use when dealing with other international bodies and countries.

The movement must show themselves to be a unified force or
else they will not be taken seriously.

Relevance of NAM in the? Unipolar world? Nilava Nandi 20
November, 2008Was the non-alignment movement relevant only in a bi-polar world?
Is it not relevant now that the world has become unipolar? It is believed so.
But the fact of the matter is that the policy of non-alignment continues to be
relevant even today.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS in many realms of politics and the
emergence of contemporary approaches in political science have left the students
of international relations confused about the so-called unipolar world. This
situation has many implications for international relations especially for the
foreign policy of a nation. One of them is the repeated relevance of the
non-alignment policy to the multitude of states of the non-aligned movement.
Because the policy emerged in the context of a bipolar world in the late 1940s,
when the Cold War was in vogue, many related to the policy only in a bipolar
context. But when the Cold War started ebbing in the 1970s with the first wave
of détente some writers started questioning the relevance of non-alignment
policy. The mistake was realised in the 1980s. But from 1988 onwards, a mistake
was inadvertently committed by some of the writers with the arrival of a new
détente between superpowers. We were told that in the changed context,
non-alignment had no continuing relevance.

The fact of the matter is that the non-alignment policy was
not completely related to a bipolar world and the Cold War between superpowers
and the blocks they led. It just happened that non-alignment flowered in the
post World War phase, after 350 years of struggle by small / weak states against
the hegemony of great powers since the arrival of sovereign states in the middle
of the 17th century in Europe. Therefore, whatever the world is – bipolar,
multi-polar or unipolar, non-alignment as a foreign policy of the small / weak
states will continue to remain valid. In other words, the policy will last as
long as the sovereign nation states exist.

It seems pointless for a person to question today the
continuing relevance of the policy which has become integral to the functioning
of sovereign nation-states. The jaded question of the time is non-alignment with
whom? The answer is non-alignment with the hegemony of great powers. It may be
difficult to practise in a unipolar world but the policy as such does not cease
to be pertinent.

As long as the functioning of sovereign nation-states is
corrupted by power politics, ie as long as the system operates contrary to the
theory that states are sovereign, independent and equal, the policy of
non-alignment will remain valid and effective in international relations
irrespective of periodical, marginal changes in the system.

The great tragedy (and of NAM too) is that it has been
brought about by one member of the NAM (Iraq) through blatant violation of the
UN Charter as well as NAM norms against a fellow member of both (Kuwait). It is
a fact that the extant multi-lateralism is pretty weak but the community of
states will not abandon them. They have survived bi-polarism and now they will
survive unipolarism. After the tremendous progress made in the development of
international law and international organisations, it seems unthinkable that
they would permit the revival of the hegemony of one or more superpowers over
the rest of the states.

Relevance of Non-alignment Movement in 21st Century

In the contemporary international circumstances non-alignment
or to put it more precisely its role and usefulness in general has become a
highly controversial issue, certainly more so than earlier. Thus, the movement
is passing through a critical period in its life. It finds itself today at the
crossroad and seems to be finding it difficult to comprehend the path it has to
rake. It is trying to find its identity, reorient its perception and endeavor to
determine the role it has to play in the changed context of international
relations. This has resulted in a heated debate about the validity and
contemporary relevance of NAM and non-alignment as foreign policy behavior in
this post cold war “unipolar world”. Expressions of doubt about its relevance
and efficacy have assumed extra vigor after the collapse of the Soviet Union and
the Socialist Block. Its traditional critics gleefully pronounced that
non-alignment buried under the debris of Berlin wall and the exercises of the
NAM are no more than flogging on the dead horse. According to the critics, NAM
is no longer relevant because of the changed international environment. It is
engaged that the policy of Non-alignment had some utility in the period of cold
war bipolarity, because it was child of cold war in the reaction of certain
countries to the cold war. The two main contenders for political ascendancy had
almost reached the point of extermination. It was the desire to preserved
independence as distinct from merely formal sovereignty, which led some nation
to resist absorption into one or the other power blocks. Presently the
international system is no longer bipolar and the clod war is over, so what is
its relevance today is a great question. In spite all these above statement
regarding its irrelevant, the relevance of NAM in international affairs is
unquestionable. As a mater of fact, the policy of Non-Alignment was not wholly
related to a bipolar world and the clod war between the two supper power and the
block they lead. It just happened that the Non-Alignment flowered in the
immediate post-world war. Therefore, whatever the world is bi-polar or
multipolar or unipolar, non-alignment as a foreign policy choice option of the
small Third World countries will remain valid. In other words the policy will
last as long as the sovereign nation system last.

It is readily admitted that some member of the NAM have not
exactly confirmed either to policy or to the criteria of membership. They have
also not complied with the recommendation appeals of NAM. This certainly does
not affect the continuing validity of the Non-Alignment in the same way that the
UN Charter and United Nation are not invalidated by the sins of omissions and
commissions of the organization its 192 members sates. As in the case of UN, the
objectives of NAM are largely of a long-term nature.

The declaration of the Jakarta Summit conference 1992
assured, NAM has contributed to the ending of bipolar in the world and to the
elimination of the cold war. These new developments have in fact fully
vindicated the validity and relevance of Non-Alignment. They affirmed NAM’s role
is ensuring” its full participation in the building of the new world order”. No
wonder, then that the membership of the NAM has more than quadrupled from about
25 states in 19961 to 118 today.

As a matter of fact, although Non-Alignment had emerged as
new, additional foreign policy behaviors in the years of the cold war and the
bipolar world, its continued relevance had little to do with either of the
context. It is significant that the relevance of the policy was reaffirmed by
the Non-Alignment minister conference held in Accra in 1991. It was again made
clear at the Non-Alignment summit conference held in Jakarta in Sept. 1992 and
more recently at Durban, 1998, Kulalampur 2003, Havana, 2006, Sharm-el-Sheikh
Egypt 2009.

It is very true that humanity survived amidst the conflicts
in the Stone Age, the Iron Age, in Gun Powder Age and also in the Age of
Warships, and Bombers Plane, but there could be no hope of survival in the age
of nuclear bombs. Therefore, war could no longer be treated as politics by other
means as war in the 21st century would not leave behind any survivors, victors
or vanquished. So, NAM is then a pioneer nuclear destruction. Although a threat
of a war “a nuclear war has certainly disappeared with the end of the cold war,
yet the number of nuclear powers have increased. The world is still divided
between the nuclear have and the have-nots. But NAM from the very beginning and
even in more recently meets at Havana in 2006 and Sharm-el-Sheikh Egypt 2009
demanded for the complete elimination of all nuclear weapons within a time bound
framework as well as asserted for the right over peaceful use of nuclear power.
The movement also stood opposed to the treaties on WMD (Weapon of Mass
Destructions) which were not universal in nature.

The relevance of NAM continues as it looks after the interest
of all Third World countries for which the movement was created. The beginning
of the Non-Alignment can be traced to Afro-Asian resurgence a reaction against
European colonial systems and prior to that in the struggle of underdeveloped
countries against the hegemony of grate European powers since the birth of
nation state system. These oppressed, suppressed, and dominated states struggled
hard for freedom from the colonialism, imperialism and great power domination to
choose their own path in the internal development and external policies. That is
why they accorded a high place to international peace, security and cooperation.
It was a coincident that just when theses countries begin to gain independence,
they found themselves in bipolar worlds. Seeking membership of either block
meant compromised on newly owned freedom by sovereign states, as well as an
increased in international tensions, which is turned threatened the prospects of
development- socio-economic and political.

The concept ‘Third World’ is important to form an
understanding of what is meant by the ‘spirit of Bandung’ or Non-Alignment,
which formed in the Belgrade Conference in 1961 where NAM was formed. The
concept ‘Third World’ has both a materialistic and an cultural meaning. In
materialistic terms, Marc argues that “if the affluent industrial countries of
the modern world are grouped into those of the ‘West’ and those of the ‘East’, …
then the poor countries constitute a ‘Third World’ whose small command over
resources distinguishes them from both”.

The cultural meaning of the term “stressed the importance of
the formation of a Third World consciousness, formed by common ideas, and an
awareness of a common history, in relation to the West. Thus, in some accounts
the Third World has existed because it provided an identity that was important
to those both inside and outside its borders”. (9) Richard Wright, a black
American novelist, who attended the Bandung Conference described it as “vibrant,
vital, a coalition of the dispossessed”.(10) The two meanings are best
illustrated in the 1952 article by , Alfred Sauvy, in which he coined the term
‘Third World’. Sauvy wrote: “The Third World has, like the Third Estate, been
ignored and despised and it too wants to be something”. (11) Just like the Third
Estate during the French Revolution, he saw the decolonised states as “ignored,
exploited, scorned”, but eager to carve out an independent role for themselves.
(12).

Although the term Third World has lost currency since the
1970s when other terms, such as ‘underdeveloped countries’, ‘developing
countries’, and ‘South’ or ‘Global South’, became more widely used, revisiting
the term conveys a sense of the conceptual foundations on which non-alignment
rests. Nehru, then Prime Minister of India and a respected statesman, had also
attended the Congress of Oppressed Nations in Brussels in 1927. As his
brainchild, in essence non-alignment means the pursuit of equality in world
affairs through pooling the diplomatic resources of Third World states in
international forums. Equality should here be understood in political-economic
terms. Equality for colonised or oppressed people and states translated into the
right to self-determination and this dominated the agenda in the first decade of
NAM’s existence. NAM was, for example, a front of political solidarity by
supporting liberation struggles and making abstinence from military pacts or
alliances a criterion of membership. (13) Inherent in a foreign policy
orientation of non-alignment was a post-colonial claim to the rights of
statehood awarded to independent states in the Westphalian system, and the
mutual respect embodied by multilateralism as proclaimed in the UN Charter.

For most Third World states the framework of national
development in the 1950s and 1960s was largely provided by modernization theory.
The latter presumed that modernised Western liberal democracy was the end-state
of development. Rostow famously elaborated on the stages through which a
traditional society needed to pass to become a modern economy and Lipset linked
economic development to democracy and Western education. The focus on endogenous
factors to explain a world economy skewed in favour of the West came under
attack during the Cairo conference in 1964, when delegates emphasised exogenous
factors, for example, the structure of dependent relationships between rich and
poor countries (also captured by the term neo-colonialism) that ‘underdevelops’
the Third World. NAM would become, as Amin notes, “the trade union for economic
claims with respect to the North” in the 1970s. He summarizes the components of
this political-economy of non-alignment as follow:

  • a will to develop the productive forces and to diversify production,
    especially through industrialization;
  • a determination that the national state should have leadership and
    control of the process;
  • a belief that technical models are ‘neutral’, though requiring control,
    and that there is no alternative but to reproduce them;
  • a belief that the development process mainly requires not popular
    initiative but only popular support for state action;
  • a belief that the process does not fundamentally clash with trade
    participation in the world capitalist system, even if it brings temporary
    conflicts with it.

NAM’s efforts to bring about a New International Economic
Order (NIEO) based on this ideology of development during the 1970s were
especially exerted in the UN. The struggle for global equity through independent
national development was, due to the Cold War emphasis on ‘high politics’
(security issues), relegated to a secondary position. Nevertheless, NAM together
with the Group of 77 (G77–largely made up of NAM members) succeeded to keep
Third World issues on the agenda in most UN forums and agencies due to their
numerical strength. In the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
(UNESCO), NAM and the G77 promoted the New World Information and Communication
Order (NWICO) to rectify the perceived imbalances in information and
communication flows between the North and the South.

In the UN General Assembly NAM played a significant role in
transferring the permanent seat in the UNSC previously filled by the Republic of
China (Taiwan) to mainland China, as well as to garner support for other
national independence struggles. Wiese argues that although it was not NAM’s
original intention to become caught up in the Cold War, the movement soon
realized that it could bring its political leverage to bear in international
forums to gain more influence for developing countries.

Here Non-Alignment with its emphasis on independent,
judgment, independent decision making and independent actions provided them with
a suitable alternative foreign postulates. Thus, cold war as dominant theme of
post-second world war international relations certainly influenced and shaped
the emergence of Non-Alignment, but it was by no means the cause of that
emergence. Besides the opposition of cold war and bloc politics which NAM
propagated was not its main goal but rather a means to promote the positive
cause of the protection and preservation of newly attained independence of the
member’s states. For the socially backward, economically weak and politically
fragile nonaligned countries of Third World countries, international peace could
not be achieved under threatening shadows of the cold war and therefore had to
be avoided.

Thus, the major thrust of NAM is the creation of a new world
based on rational, democratic, equitable and non-exploitative inter-states
relation. It commitment has been not just against bloc divisions of cold war but
for one world for universal peace and development. The end of the cold war has
ended a period of strategic confrontations but an era of stable global peace is
yet to be created. In fact the cold war is dead but not the regional conflicts
and crisis. The East-West conflict has dissolved but intense economic and
technological competition is emerging among several strong nations. The
Non-Alignment countries have to learn to maneuver among them and to successfully
face the menace of new colonialism that is sought to be imposed through various
WTO round. Thus, the NAM continued to be relevance so long as there is
exploitation, war, hunger, poverty and disease on the earth.

Those who took the path of Non-Alignment were people who
found the existing ideas of nationalism, national interest, international
relations, human dignity and freedom inadequate to meet the challenges of
post-second world war reality. The post colonial reality which was suffused with
the awareness that imperialism had not only failed to solve any human problem
but had also violated all norms and values of civilized harmonious human
existence. It had stunned the natural growth of land and people that came under
its way. It had also developed an insatiable appetite for dominating others to
satisfy which it had gone to wars, destroyed human life and precious resources
and prepared to repeat the performance the new world needed as strategy to
bridle this monstrous march to destruction. So here NAM can give the strategy to
do so.

End of the East-West confrontation or of ideological
polarization does not mean the end of the NAM just as the phase of thaw in great
power conflict and détente did not make it irrelevant. It is pertinent to recall
in this context the analysis of world situation made at the Cairo summit of
1964. “Taking note of the welcome improvement in the international situations
the head of the state or govt. pointed out that, despite the presence
improvement in international relations and notwithstanding the conclusion and
signature of the treaty of Moscow, source of tension will exist in many parts of
the world”.

What were those sources of tensions? The conference declared
“imperialism, colonialism and new colonialism constitute a basic source of
international tension and conflicts because they endanger world peace and
security”. Thus, when the world is got rid of bloc conflict, because one of the
bloc ceased to exist, the struggled against imperialism and the mindset it
represents will, have to be continued and the NAM will remain relevant as an
instrument of that struggle for all age to come like Platonic ideal state will
remain ideal for all age to come.

A comprehensive assessment of the theory and practice of NAM
through the last three decades reveals that it remains relevant to the changing
world scenario irrespective of the fact that whether there is cold war or
détente, whether the world is unipolar, bipolar, or multipolar. The uniqueness
of NAM lies in the fact that its goals do not merely serve the national interest
of member state but it stand to promote the cause humanity. They are
universalistic in nature. It would not be an exaggeration to say that recent
positive developments on international scene reflect the spirit of NAM.

Non-alignment is a political concept that strives for the
remodeling of the international society, as a whole, and not merely any single
aspects of it though inevitably the nonaligned nation had stressed particular
aspects at a particular period of time.

While power bloc and military pacts have not lost their
luster, there are military alliances which continue to dominant global trade to
political freedom. As the political independence, without economic emancipation
is meaningless, the NAM is progressively putting more emphasis on economic
independence. The Non-Alignment nations have been demanding for a legitimate
share in world trades. The determination of the quality and quantity of foreign
aid from developed to developing countries is also task for the Non-Alignment
nation. Economic cooperation between developed and developing states forms part
of the threefold strategy advocated by the NAM. These stands are: reliance on
their resources, promotion of cooperation among non-alignment states themselves,
fostering cooperation with the advanced states, with the subjects of promoting
self reliance as would restrict exploitation and contribute towards resolution
of the problems of world economy as a whole.

While the challenge of international peace continue to be the
predominant concern, the immediate task facing the NAM with the creation of a
new, just and equitable international economic and social order. The struggle of
NAM is now entering a new phase when most developed nation of the world appeared
to be accepting in principle the need for a new international order. The
fundamental concern of NAM has always been with global question of
decolonization and consolidation of freedom, disarmament and development of
economies through mutual cooperation as well as through a more equitable and
just new international economic order. All these are interrelated and to make
the package of peace and prosperity for humanity.

Former Pm of Indian Narasimha Rao said the following words in
June 1992 in a speech made in Tokyo “the pursuit of a Non-Alignment policy is
even more relevant to ever before NAM basically consists of the espousal of the
right of nations to independence and development, regardless of the bloc
phenomena. Whether there is one bloc or more at a given movement the urge of a
nonaligned country would continue to maintain its independence, to take
decisions according to its light not tagging itself in advance to other”. Again
the Cartegena submit 1995 reaffirmed the “validity of the NAM and its
fundamental principle” and the various norms of international life “peace,
independence, sovereign equality, non-intervention in internal affairs”. It
declared against poverty, hunger, illigacy, racial discrimination and
xenophobia, terrorism, nuclear weapon, environmental degradation, foreign
occupation. Further in the Foreign Minister summit of April 1997 in New Delhi IK
Gujral said,” NAM affords its members s forum where they can discuss their
common problems, evolve solutions and work out positions in trying to tackle the
international problems of peace, security, development, environmental safety,
human rights etc. Delhi Conference announced: the UN and the Security Council
should become more representative of its increased memberships,
non-discriminatory, time bound nuclear and general disarmament should be the
objective towards which the movement should endeavors.

The Foreign Minister of Colombia Dr Maria Emma Mejiva Velez
perhaps best reflected the thoughts of may people regarding the relevance of NAM
today when she narrated story of how she was asked by a young girl in her
country, “what is NAM?” In seeking to answer this question she said that today
Non-Alignment meant more than “not being aligned to the great power bloc”. It
meant that nations were not to be aligned with military alliances and seeks to
get involved in peace making like the Middle East. She also drawn the attention
in this submit that NAM in today’s world has to address issues of the future
rather than the past because anti-colonialism has been transformed into
democratization of more nations and development has become identified with
environmental protection.

Those who doubt its validity must contemplate why what began
with a modest membership of 25 is able to boast of a membership of 118 today?
Why it that many that opted for alignment has come round to adopt Non-Alignment
approach? It cannot be dismissed as merely a fashion or herd mentality of the
poor Third World countries. In fact non-alignment was evolved to strengthen the
socio-economic and political strategic basis of the new countries. It was though
Non-Alignment that they were trying to give meaning and content to their
political independence. What says Rasheeduddin Khan, Non-Alignment can still
play a positive role in major and continuing global concerns like disarmament,
and development is fully correct. According to M.S. Raja, Non-Alignment is a
dynamic policy and retains its continuing relevance in world affairs by adopting
itself to changing international context and the needs of the nonaligned comity
of nations. It is a policy and posture of universal relevance, validity and
applicability”.

The recently concluded 14th NAM submit in Havana further
reaffirmed its relevance when it adopted Havana Declaration that condemned all
forms of terrorism for whatever purposes and urges countries to refrain from
extending political, diplomatic, moral or material support to terrorism under
the UN charter and also asked them to fulfill global obligation not to give any
support. The conference also condemned unilateralism and attempts to exercise
hegemonic dominations in international relations. The declaration resolved to
oppose and condemn the categorization of countries as “good and evil”, based on
unilateral and unjustified criteria and the adoption of a doctrine of
pre-emptive attack including by nuclear weapons. In the context of talk of
“clash of civilizations”, the NAM countries also sought a “dialogue among
culture, civilizations and religions”. The summit reaffirmed the inalienable
rights of Third World countries to engage in research, production and use of
nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination. On the north-south
dialogue and cooperation the summit acknowledged the need for interaction among
the leaders among the Third World for forging compatible or complementary
responses on global issues for a greater action. It also expressed concerned
over the continue impasse in negation all across all areas of Doha work program
and asked the developed countries to show flexibility in breaking the deadlock.

Perhaps the most important role for NAM today lies in framing
a concrete economic agenda for a just and fair international economic order. The
globalization and liberalization trends worldwide have generated complex
economic problems. The rich-poor divide has widened. The WTO rules and
procedures have failed to provide adequate economic gains to the Third World.
WTO summits have failed to reach a consensus on many issues. Its role in WTO
negotiations to advance and protect the trading rights and opportunities of
developing countries and in muscling up their negotiating position and skills
would be the chief concerns. It should strive to reform and reorient the
globalization process through a strong developmental agenda. NAM has an
effective role to play in this regard provided member countries try to see the
benefits from a unified angle without any partisan considerations.

Therefore, South-South cooperation should become a major
economic plank of the movement. Its role in the present century would be
strengthened by more South-South cooperation, which would mean, by and large,
collaboration between and among the NAM countries and defending their interests
from fast expanding economic and technological power of the North. NAM should
develop a progressive agenda on the fundamental values of democracy, human
rights and multiculturalism. The preservation and consolidation of democracy
throughout its membership is a major challenge. NAM’s spectrum could be further
enlarged with the increasing concern worldwide over environmental issues over
green house gas emissions, health concerns especially AIDS, drug trafficking,
rising instances of poverty, food crisis and unemployment mostly within the NAM
members and LDC countries, the rising digital divide between the rich and poor
and fight against all shades of extremism, xenophobia, ethnic nationalism and
regional wars.

Ms Rice triggered a controversy in her July 27 speech by
asserting that “Non-Alignment” had lost its meaning after the end of the Cold
War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. She had evidently been irked by
the shrill anti-American rhetoric that emerged at the recent Non-Aligned
Movement Summit in Havana. She even advised India the pioneer of NAM to move
past old ways of thinking as NAM was a cold war concept and hence lost its
meaning. She advised that instead of being aligned with interest and powers of
one bloc or another like during cold war, there could now be a partnership of
fellow democracies with common ideals and values. She thus asked India to ditch
NAM and join US led global alliance of democracies. Rejecting the US contention
that Non-Aligned Movement has “lost its meaning”, India quickly asserted that
its relevance continues in promoting democratization of the international system
and New Delhi was committed to its ideals.External Affairs Ministry said India’s
“firm and abiding commitment” to non-alignment could not be questioned. “The
Non-Aligned Movement played a significant role in ending apartheid and
colonialism. Today, its relevance continues in promoting South-South cooperation
and democratization of the international system,” (Indian express June 29,
2007).

Therefore, in the conclusion it can be said that, although
the cold war has ended there is no end of justice. In fact cold was has assumed
a new dimension with the recent emergence of Russia as the world is witnessing
the ongoing confrontation between US and Russia over issues like eastward
expansion of NATO, Kosovo’s independence as well the Georgian crisis. As there
is the possibility of reappearance of war monger in the scene of world affairs
peace making become a continuous process must be pursued every time by the NAM.
In fact until the world is not free form war and world peace is not guaranteed,
the real development of the Third World counties will remain only a distant
dream. Further as colonialism has been replaced by the phenomenon or
neo-colonialism in the form of economic exploitation by the MNC because of the
process of LPG (liberalization, privatization, and globalization) the role of
the NAM must play the positive role in making the globalization inclusive and
must strive to achieve a faire, just international economic order. Therefore,
Non-Alignment has not lost any of its relevance rather it has stood the test of
time. It has served the useful purpose of protecting and preserving the interest
of the Third World countries well in the past, so it is also expected to serve
their interest well in the future to come. NAM can play the most important role
in protecting the economic interest of the Third World countries as well as
promoting south-south cooperation. Thus the philosophy of NAM is as relevant as
ever for the Third World.

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