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PSIR 2A-7B] Non-Alignment Movement (NAM)– Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Discuss the relevance of the normative ethos of the Non-Aligned Movement in magnifying India’s soft power in pursuit of her national interest. [2023/20m/250w/2a]

The Non-Aligned Movement is a group of states that chose not to align with any major power bloc during the Cold War. It was founded on the principles of neutrality, anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, and the promotion of peace and cooperation among nations. India’s consistent commitment to these values has enhanced its image as a principled and morally-driven nation, contributing to its soft power.

As a founder of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), a sound critic of imperialism and colonialism, and a proponent of disarmament, India presented value-based policies that generated goodwill especially among developing countries. Its active role in the NAM contributed to its positive image and helped position itself as a spokesperson for the developing world.

According to Lehmann, India, lacking in economic and military capabilities, immediately after its independence, sought to depend upon the soft power by inventing and choosing an alternative option guaranteeing independence: Non-Alignment Movement (NAM), therefore, in the Cold War world of hard power and ideological confrontation, became an instrument through which India was able to exercise considerable international soft power.

NAM’s diverse membership and principled stance allowed India to exert influence on global issues. India’s leadership within NAM has given it a platform to advocate for its national interests, such as disarmament, peace, and development, on the international stage. India’s historical association with NAM’s anti-colonial and anti-imperialist principles resonates with many post-colonial and developing nations. This shared history has created a sense of solidarity and empathy, boosting India’s soft power in these regions.

NAM has often played a role in mediating conflicts, and India’s involvement in such efforts has showcased its commitment to peaceful conflict resolution. This has contributed to India’s image as a responsible and diplomatic actor, enhancing its soft power.

India’s consistent commitment to NAM’s principles of peace, cooperation, anti-imperialism, and global justice has enhanced its image as a principled and responsible global actor. This, in turn, has contributed to India’s ability to influence and pursue its national interests on the global stage. [329 words]

2] “During the Cold War, the Non-Aligned Movement tried to become a ‘Third Force’ in world politics, but failed because it was too large and unwieldy.” Discuss. [2023/20m/250w/3a]

Non-alignment is one of those phenomenon of international politics which appeared after the Second World War in cold war situation on the international scene. It provided a new twist to the world politics and has represented an important force in shaping the nature of international relations.

However, the diversity and strength of membership of NAM turned out to be a bane. The movement included countries with a wide range of political systems, ideologies, and interests. This diversity made it difficult to formulate a unified and coherent agenda.

Moreover, NAM member states had varying levels of commitment to the movement’s principles. Some countries were more aligned with the Western or Eastern blocs, and their competing interests within NAM created internal divisions and limited the movement’s influence.

NAM did not have strong centralized decision-making mechanisms. Decisions often required consensus among member states, which was challenging to achieve given the diversity of interests. This made it difficult for NAM to take decisive actions on global issues.

NAM member states often lacked the resources and capabilities to effectively address global challenges, such as economic development, security, and conflict resolution. This limited their impact on world events.

The end of the Cold War brought about a fundamental shift in global politics. With the dissolution of the Eastern bloc, the rationale for NAM’s existence as a “Third Force” was challenged, and its role became less clear.

Some NAM member states were part of regional alliances that had their own priorities and interests. These regional commitments sometimes took precedence over NAM’s objectives, further complicating the movement’s cohesion.

Despite these limitations, NAM did play a role in promoting the principles of neutrality, anti-imperialism, and anti-colonialism on the international stage and continued to exist beyond the Cold War era as a forum for diplomatic dialogue and cooperation among its member states. [302 words]

3] Discuss the ways to strengthen the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to enable it to address the challenges faced by the developing countries. [2020/20m/250w/3a]

In its early years of formation, the Non-Aligned Movement raised its voice against colonialism, imperialism, neo-colonialism, racialism and exploitation in various forms of the newly independent nations. Over time, it evolved into a strong votary for the promotion of international peace, for building bridges of understanding and to promote cooperation between the antagonistic blocs. Unfortunately due to the rapidly changing global scenarios, NAM is facing an existential crisis.

To strengthen itself, firstly, NAM should alter itself from being a movement that believed in passing resolutions and bashing imperialism. It should become more realistic in highlighting problems and take a practical stand rather than being rhetorical.

The purpose with which NAM was formed has more or less become obsolete. A new and precise agenda should be set up to bring the sincerity of purpose.

NAM should again bring in the limelight by taking up issues that concern not only the global south but also the north. It should take up crucial issues like environmental conservation, migration, medicines and drugs-related intellectual property etc.

The most crucial 21st-century issue for NAM should be the technological hegemony of the few powerful nations and the digital divide.

South-south cooperation should be evoked in a practical manner where members should make plans to help each other in economic development through free trade agreements, scholarships to the students, and research & development which would help in technological development and easy access to resources to the people and lesser dependency on the core countries.

NAM should develop a progressive agenda on the fundamental values of democracy, human rights and multiculturalism as it is a major challenge throughout its membership. Lastly, the involvement of people and students would give rise to a sense of solidarity and hence, people-to-people contact should be taken into consideration.

The pooling of natural and human resources can give NAM a new direction. It has the capacity and resilience to transform itself and adjust to the changes in the international arena. [326 words]

4] Write a brief note on the 17th NAM Summit in Venezuela. [2019/10m/150w/1b]

The 17th NAM Summit was organised by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Margarita Island, in the year 2016. The theme of the summit was ‘peace, sovereignty and solidarity for development’ and a 21-article final declaration was issued. The summit comes amid political and economic turmoil in the oil-rich country which has skidded into crisis as global crude prices have plunged since mid-2014.

The summit deliberated on issues of contemporary relevance and concern such as terrorism, UN reform, the situation in West Asia, and threats to peace and security.

The summit talked about the consolidation, strengthening and revitalisation of the NAM. the resolution to work to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons to achieve international security was reiterated. The members reaffirmed their commitment to the promotion and protection of universal human rights, strengthening of the international order and the right to self-determination. Although the Summit was not attended by the Indian head of state, the vice president raised the issue of terrorism.

The final declaration also talked of comprehensive and just solution to the Palestinian refugees’ cause, and reform of the UNSC to transform it into a more democratic, effective, and transparent body.

NAM continues to represent space for action in pursuance of the collective interests of the developing world, along with the G-77, especially on subjects such as the reform of the global economic system and disarmament. [228 words]

5] Discuss the significance of Non Aligned Movement as a unique contribution of the non-western world to world politics. [2018/20m/250w/2a]

Non-Alignment Movement was a unique movement in many ways, and although it did not enjoy much attention, its contributions cannot be ignored.

NAM was perhaps the first global-level initiative started completely by third-world countries. It enthused a sense of identity and self-determination in them and also demonstrated their capacity to be independent.

According to TV Paul, NAM never got the credit it deserves. It played an important role in the decolonization of the rest of the world. It acted as a soft balancing mechanism in superpower rivalry and delegitimized the threatening behaviour of the two blocs.

NAM can also be credited for creating a taboo against the use of nuclear weapons. It developed multiple Nuclear Weapon Free Zones and questioned their development by superpowers. NAM used the tools of ‘naming and shaming’ against great powers.

TV Paul suggests that the intellectual bias against NAM, a coalition of weaker states, is as natural and expected as there is a bias against the subaltern class movements among upper classes and upper castes in hierarchical societies.

There were also attempts by NAM to highlight and address the economic imbalance between the north and South. During the 70s and 80s, it suggested many proposals for new international economic order. However, these efforts were not met with success.

Political scholars like C Raja Mohan suggest that the movement has outlived its utility. It is the right time to declare that it has fulfilled its agenda and is no more needed.

TV Paul on the other hand argues to keep NAM alive. As the great powers are once again in a state of rivalry, the movement can act as a soft balancing mechanism. [277 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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