Non Aligned Movement (NAM) - Principles, Countries, NAM UPSC PDF

By Sudheer Kumar K|Updated : November 30th, 2022

Non Aligned Movement (NAM) is an organization of states formed during the Cold War with the purpose of ensuring security, territorial integrity, sovereignty, and the national independence of the non-aligned countries in their struggle against racism, neo-colonialism, colonialism, imperialism and all forms of foreign subjugation. Currently, Non Aligned Movement [NAM] has the objective of restructuring the global economic order.

The Non Aligned Movement Member countries aim to support the states' territorial integrity, sovereignty, national independence, and self-determination. NAM played an essential role in stabilizing the world order and maintaining peace and security during the Cold War era. Below you will learn about the Non Aligned Movement, its Origin, NAM Functioning, NAM Member Countries, its objectives, evolution, the relevance of NAM, the global pandemic crisis and the aftermath leadership role of India in NAM.

Table of Content

What is Non Aligned Movement?

After World War II, 120 developing countries formed the Non-Alignment Movement. These countries were not formally against or aligned with any of the major power blocs in the world. The United Nations is the largest block of countries worldwide.

Non-Alignment Movement PDF

NAM was established in Belgrade in 1961 under the leadership of the Prime Minister of India (Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru), the President of Egypt ( Gamal Abdel Nasser), and the President of Yugoslavia (Josip Broz Tito).

Origin of Non Aligned Movement

After independence, India followed the Non Aligned Movement path and became one of this block's founding members. Because of much orientation of Nehru towards the soviet era, it followed the path of NAM.

  • Although in reality, many of the members of the Non Aligned Movement were closely aligned with the superpowers, which somehow served their interests.
  • NAM became less relevant by following the same path in the later years after Nehru.
  • Due to the changing geopolitics, India followed the path of globalization and collaborated with superpowers from time to time.
  • This approach of India not only leaves the country negligent towards Non Aligned Movement but in the time frame, the importance of this bloc diminishes for India.

Non Aligned Movement Functioning

Non Aligned Movement doesn't possess a formal hierarchy or permanent secretariat. The functioning of the NAM is explained as follows-

  • The administration of the Non Aligned Movement is non-hierarchy and rotational.
  • It has a Coordinating Bureau established at the UN, New York City.
  • The NAM member countries meets at the NAM Summit Conference of the Heads of the States every three years.
  • NAM takes a universal decision by consensus. However, it requires a substantial agreement as well.
  • A post of the chair is chosen at the Summit for three years.
  • Every member country of the Non Aligned Movement has equal weight.

NAM Member Countries

Non Aligned Movement is the largest inter-country organization outside the United Nations. Currently, there are 120 NAM Member countries. India is the organization's founding member. The details of the NAM Member Countries are as follows-

  • Along with India, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan are also NAM Members.
  • Observer status is given to China.
  • Except for South Sudan and Western Sahara, all African countries are NAM Members.
  • Along with China, various other countries and organizations are given observer status. Some of these countries and organizations are the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Arab League, the African Union, the United Nations, etc.
  • Among European countries, members of NAM are Belarus and Azerbaijan.

Objectives of NAM

Non Aligned Movement were formed with the prime objective of creating an independent path in the world's politics. It encourages the threat of the use of force in international relations. The fulfilment of these objectives will maintain tranquillity, peace, and harmony in the global order. These elements define the approach of the organization-

  • Struggle against neo-colonialism and imperialism.
  • Right to independent judgement.
  • Using relations moderately with big powers of the world.
  • It also focuses on the struggle against colonialism domination, disarmament, foreign occupation, racism, and neocolonialism. It supports the peaceful co-existence of all the nations and non-interference in the States' internal affairs.
  • NAM targets non-adherence of opposition to multilateral military pacts and NAM members' independence to block influences and rivalries.
  • It promotes strengthening the United Nations, international cooperation on an equal footing, and the democratization of international relations.

Non Aligned Movement Evolution

Historians believe the Bandung Conference of 1955 is the most important antecedent to the Non Aligned Movement formation. Twenty-nine heads of different governments from Africa and Asia's first post-colonial generation of leaders attended the conference. It included Sukarno of Indonesia, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Tito, Nasser, and Nehru. They adopted 10 guiding principles, and these are-

  • Respect for international obligations and justice.
  • Promotion of cooperation and mutual interest.
  • Settlement of global disputes peacefully.
  • Prohibit the use of collective defence pacts. It will enhance the interest of the great powers.
  • Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all the nations.
  • Respect for the objectives and principles of the UN charter and an individual's fundamental rights.
  • Non-interference of non-intervention in the internal affairs of another country.
  • In conformity with the UN's Charter, respect the right of a nation to defend itself collectively or individually.
  • Refraining from all sorts of threats or acts of aggression along with the use of force against the political independence or territorial integrity of any nation.
  • Recognition of equality among all nations, be it large or small, and equality among all races.

NAM was formally established with 25 developing countries in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in 1961 during the first NAM Summit Conference. India was the founding member of the NAM. At first, the founders of the Non Aligned Movement were interested in calling it an organization.

Relevance of NAM

Presently, there are 120 permanent members of the Non Aligned Movement, and India is at the stage where it can emerge as the leader of the group concerning the democratic value, economy, and demographic size of the country. Also, India, one of the Movement's founding members, is valued more.

  • Recently, Prime Minister Modi addressed a virtual summit of the non-aligned nations that has given the global order an edge to rethink India's role in NAM. This also signifies India's stakes in the so-called "Global South", so NAM can be used as a climbing ladder. In this way, Non Aligned Movement still exists as a critical diplomatic forum for India in the pursuit of India's international interests.
  • It is always believed that NAM is an organization formed at the time Cold War and has worked according to the needs of that time. Now also, the world is feeling that a new Cold War can begin between the two superpowers of the world: the US and China.
  • In this situation, India has every reason to try and preserve some political space between the two. In the last few years, India has been devoting time to many diplomatic forums like BRICS.
  • These forums concluded profits only for Russian and Chinese leadership; that's why India needs NAM to mobilize support on issues of interest to Delhi.

Global Pandemic Crisis and Aftermath Leadership role of NAM

Modi must check his nationalist image and authority in the international arena from a strategic point of view. If he became a leader of the world’s largest multipolar organization, he would gain a significantly different position from leaders like Trump and other such leaders who actively postponed multilateralism.

  • Further, the Nehruvian template of foreign policy is redeemed by the NAM. This foreign policy was accepted in the Middle East and the West, and Modi has received maximum pushback from these two regions for a year.
  • A new global order’s emergence was expected by the world for a new international order in COVID-19's aftermath.
  • Thus, developing middle powers like India are ready to perform an essential role in what India has identified during its NAM intervention, which acknowledged the existing international system’s limitations and suggested a "new globalization template, based on humanity, equality, and fairness. This forum can achieve that."

It can also be said that along with economic growth, international institutions should promote human welfare. Also, India’s initiatives of International Yoga Day, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, and the International Solar Alliance are highlighted.

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) UPSC

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) UPSC is an essential topic for the IAS Exam as several questions have been raised from the topic in UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains exam. You can learn about it by downloading the link to the Non Aligned Movement PDF. Also, you can judge your preparation by solving the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers.

Non Aligned Movement UPSC

India's diplomacy has followed the path to counter China and its increasing influence in the last few years. India is facing China as a competitor in many realms in Indo-Pacific, Central Asia, West Asia, and the Indo-Africa. The complementary Indo-US ties and the formal alliance will help realize their relationship’s full potential. However, India's partnership with the US will not break down trade relations with China. Even during the Cold War, New Delhi and the US enjoyed good trade ties. As a result of this, the US lean towards the Soviet Union.

Non alignment makes all the sense if both sides' profits are balanced. Unlike the Soviet Union, China will never try to be to India. In the world after the -COVID-19 breakout, India is supposed to have to make a turbulent choice of alignment.

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FAQs on Non Aligned Movement

  • The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a bloc of 120 developing countries formed during the Cold War. These countries are neither against, nor formally aligned with any major power bloc in the world. It was established in Belgrade in 1961 under Josip Broz Tito, Gamal Abdel Nasser, and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

  • NAM was founded to advance interests of the Cold War Confrontation among the developing countries. It played an essential role in the democratization of international relations, the formation of newly independent states, and their decolonization.

  • The NAM headquarters are situated in New York City, New York, United States. The first session was held in Belgrade in 1961. The recent Non-Aligned Movement Summit was held in Azerbaijan in June 2019. There were two preceding events of the summit, i.e, a” Ministerial Meeting” and a "Senior Officials Meeting.”

  • Currently, there are 120 NAM Member countries, including India, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, and all African countries except South Sudan and Western Sahara, etc.

  • IAlilham yev, the president of Azerbaijan, is the chairperson of the Non-Aligned Movement. He was selected as the chairperson of the NAM Summit Conference of 2019. He holds the position till 2022.

  • The major objectives of the Non-Alignment movement are maintaining peace, opposing colonialism and imperialism, human rights protection, promoting economic growth, opposing nuclear weapons acquisition or military alliances and declaring the United Nations as the peacemaking body in the World.

  • NAM emerged as a group of countries that didn’t join any major bloc during the Cold War. Though it was formed with the sole aim of handling the situation during the Cold War, it is still significant to the world for maintaining international peace and security in all parts of the world.

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