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7.3 NAM [Non Alignment Movement]

NAM Members.svg
NAM members at present. From Wikipedia commons.

Non Alignment Movement (NAM) was the movement of third world country which emerged after 2nd WW. It primarily focused on preserving the newly earned freedom and sovereignty of these countries. During early days, its actions were key factors in the process of decolonization process. And it has played an important role in preserving world peace and security.

History and Evolution

Bandung Conference
Bandung Asian-African conference in 1955 is considered as most immediate antecedent to the creation of NAM. Meeting was attended by 29 Heads of states. These belonged to first post-colonial generation. The objective was to identify and assess world issues and pursuing joint policies in international relations. There was also another important reason. These countries had newly attained independence. Development and increasing standard of living was main concern for them. And therefore they did not wanted to be part of either Western or Eastern block and become part of cold war.
‘Ten Principles of Bandung’ were proclaimed at the conference. And such principles were later adopted as the main goals and objectives of NAM.

Belgrade Summit
Six year after Bandung the Movement of Non-Aligned countries was founded at the First Summit Conference of Belgrade. On Sep 1-6 1961. The conference was attended by members of 25 countries from Asia, Africa and Europe, and Latin America (Cuba). The NAM was declared as ‘movement’ and not organization to avoid the bureaucratic implications of the latter.
It was conceived to play a active role in international politics, to have its own stand on international matters. Which will reflect the interest of its members.

Ten Principles of Bandung
1. Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
2. Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
3. Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations large and small.
4. Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
5. Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
6. Abstention from the use of arrangements of collective defense to serve the particular interests of any of the big powers, abstention by any country from exerting pressures on other countries.
7. Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
8. Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration or judicial settlement as well as other peaceful means of the parties’ own choice, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
9. Promotion of mutual interests and cooperation.
10. Respect for justice and international obligation. 

NAM Summit
1st NAM Summit, Belgrade

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Early Objectives and Achievements

Primary objective of NAM focused on the support of self-determination, national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, opposition to apartheid, non-adherence to multilateral military pacts, struggle against imperialism and colonialism, racism, foreign occupation etc. Strengthening of United Nations, democratization of International Relations, socio-economic development as well as international cooperation on equal footing.

In 1950s The movement played important role in support of nations struggling of independence and against colonization. Third world showed great solidarity under leadership of NAM and. The movement gained considerable diplomatic prestige.

Evolution and present status of Movement

In 1960s and 1970s, the movement expanded to include nearly all Asian and African countries. The issues raised by movement also evolved. It now included struggle for the respect of economic and political rights of third world countries. Algiers conference in 1973 launched the concept of ‘New International Economic Order’.

By the end of 1980s, world observed the end of Cold War and collapse of Socialist Block. It was assumed that existence of antagonistic blocks was the prime reason for its emergence. And therefore scholars started asking questions about relevance of NAM.
Nevertheless, the principles and objectives of NAM are still relevant at present international juncture. The end of one block has not done away with the problems of the world. On the contrary new issues like terrorism and climate change have emerged which necessitate global coordination.

During 14th NAM summit in Havana, Cuba in Sept. 2006, Heads of States and Governments of member countries reaffirmed their commitments to the ideals, principles and purposes of NAM. The leaders stated their firm belief that absence of two conflicting blocs is no way reduced the need to strengthen the movement. It also adopted renewed Purposes and Principles of the movement in present international scenario.

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The movement has succeeded to create a strong front representing countries of third world. Current challenges for NAM include protecting international law, eliminating weapons of mass destruction, making United Nations more effective, defending Human Rights, Security and Stability and Justice in international economic system. Long standing goals of peace, development, economic cooperation, remain to be realized. Thus we can expect the movement to play a even bigger role in coming times.

Test Your Knowledge!

1] Bandung Asia-Africa conference took place in which year?
a) 1954
b) 1955
c) 1956
d) 1957

Show Answer

Ans: b) 1955

2] Non-Alignment Movement was founded in which conference?
a) Belgrade Conference
b) Geneva Conference
c) Singapore Conference
d) Beijing Confernce

Show Answer

Ans: a) Belgrade Conference

3] The concept of ‘New International Economic Order was launched at which conference?
a) Bandung Conference
b) Vienna Conference
c) Munich Conference
d) Algiers Conference

Show Answer

Ans: d) Algiers Conference

4] Which among the following are the challenges faced by NAM?
a) Protecting International law
b) Defending Human Rights
c) Security and Stability
d) All of the above

Show Answer

Ans: d) All of the above

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