Emergence of Third World and Non-Alignment

The Non-Aligned Movement emerged in the context of the wave of decolonization that followed World War II. 

By Author  |  Published: 9th Jul 2020  7:45 pm

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), international organisation dedicated to representing the interests and aspirations of developing countries. In the early 21st century the Non-Aligned Movement counted 120 member states. The Non-Aligned Movement emerged in the context of the wave of decolonization that followed World War II. 

During the cold war era the NAM played a vital role in stabilizing the world order and preserving peace and security. Non alignment of NAM doesn’t mean the neutrality of state on global issues, it was always a peaceful intervention in world politics.

Background

  • The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) had its origins in the Bandung Conference of April 1945 In Indonesia, inspired by three world leaders: Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Tito of Yugoslavia and Nasser of Egypt. 
  • Bandung formulated the concept of non-alignment based on the Third World desire not to become involved in the East-West ideological confrontation of the Cold War, and to focus instead on national independence struggles, the alleviation of poverty, and economic development. These principles were adopted at the founding non-aligned summit in Belgrade in 1961.
  • Whereas NAM started with 25 members in 1961, it had 120 members as on April 2018 comprising 53 countries from Africa, 39 from Asia, 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 2 from Europe (Belarus, Azerbaijan). There are 17 countries and 10 international organizations that are Observers at NAM.

NAM in Cold War Era

  • Against Apartheid: The evil of apartheid was massively prevalent in African countries like South Africa, its was on the agenda of NAM right from first conference. During 2nd NAM conference at Cairo the government of South Africa was warned against the discriminatory practices of apartheid.
  • UNSC reforms: Right from its inception NAM was in the favour of UNSC reforms, it was against the domination of US and USSR. It wanted the representation of third world countries to make UNSC more democratic. Members echoed with same demand at 17th NAM conference at Venezuela.
  • Failed to resolve regional tensions: In the era of cold war the tension in South Asia escalated due to regional conflict between India- China and India-Pakistan. NAM failed to avoid tensions in the region, that further led to the the nuclearisation of the region.

India’s Position

  • India being a founder and largest member in NAM was an active participant in NAM meetings till 1970s but India’s inclination towards erstwhile USSR created confusions in smaller members. It led to the weakening of NAM and small nations drifted towards either US or USSR.
  • Prime Minister of India skipped the 17th Non Aligned Movement (NAM) summit held in Venezuela in 2016, it was only second such instance when Head of a state didn’t participate in NAM conference.
  • Moreover, NAM continued losing relevance for India in a unipolar world, especially after the founding members failed to support India during crisis. For instance, during 1962 War with China, Ghana and Indonesia, adopted explicitly pro-China positions. During 1965 and 1971 wars, Indonesia and Egypt took an anti India stance and supported Pakistan.
  • India is striving hard for a multipolar world order and asserting itself as one of the player. Multi polar world order is very much closed to NAM principles.

2020 Summit

  • The virtual Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Contact Group Summit on “United against Covid-19” through video conferencing was held recently.  The meeting was convened at the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, in his capacity as chair of the Non Aligned Movement.
  • Moreover 30 Heads of State and other leaders had joined the Summit. The Summit was also addressed by the UN General Assembly president and World Health Organisation (WHO) chief. It was the first time that PM Narendra Modi participated in a NAM Summit since he assumed the office in 2014.