Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) – Principles, Countries, Headquarters

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

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, functioning, member countries, objectives, evolution, the relevance of NAM, the global pandemic crisis, and the aftermath leadership role of India in NAM.

What is Non-Aligned Movement?

After World War II, 120 developing countries formed the Non-Aligned 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 bloc of countries worldwide.

Non-Aligned 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 meet 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 Members

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 Non-Aligned Movement

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 fulfillment 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, the 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 Roles of NAM

Prime Minister Narendra 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.

Criticism of Non-Aligned Movement

The Non-Aligned Movement started in the 1960s and therefore there has always been a question about its relevance in the advanced scenario. There are many key points based on which the Non-Aligned Movement has been criticised.

  • It has been observed that the Non-Aligned Movement has kept a blind eye with respect to its member countries violating human rights.
  • NAM was also unsuccessful in putting a restriction on the use of nuclear arms.
  • It is said to be a non-participant in economic or diplomatic discussions on a global level.
  • The Non-Aligned Movement has not shown any stand on sensitive issues such as the exploitation of children and gender issues.
  • It could also not successfully intervene in the invasion of Iraq by Kuwait inspite of both countries being members.

Advantages and Disadvantages of NAM

There are a decent number of advantages and disadvantages of the Non-Aligned Movement as on one hand it is a promoter of global peace. On the other hand, it has been absent from the public forums on sensitive issues such as human rights & gender issues.

Advantages of NAM Disadvantages of NAM
It has prevented the world from being divided into two separate blocks. It does not participate in economic-level discussions.
It has played an important role in settling various disputes on national and international levels. The Non-Aligned Movement has chosen to ignore many human rights violations.
The Non-Aligned Movement also promotes the idea of equality. It has been unsuccessful in stopping the rapid growth of nuclear intrusion.

Summary of Non-Aligned Movement

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.

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) UPSC

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) UPSC is an essential topic for the IAS Exam as several questions have been asked from the topic in Prelims and 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 previous year’s question papers.

Non-Aligned Movement UPSC Questions

The experts have provided the candidates with complete details and information about the Non-Aligned Movement UPSC Questions. The candidates must lay forth an effective strategy for the exam to be able to complete the syllabus on time and to gain insights into the topics effectively. Check here the questions mentioned below-

Mains Question: What is the importance of the Non-Aligned Movement in India’s policy in contemporary times? Discuss.

Question: Who was not a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement? [A] Nasir [B] Stalin [C] Nehru [D] Tito

Answer: (Option B) Stalin

Question: Keeping into consideration the Non-Aligned Movement, take into consideration the following statements. [1] It traces its origin to the Bandung Conference conducted in 1961. [2] The states of the Non-Aligned Movement cannot be a segment of a multilateral military alliance, taking into consideration the condition of membership.

Which of the statements is correct? [A] 1 and 2, [B] 2 and 3, [C] 1 only, and [D] 2 only

Answer: Option D (2 only) The states of the Non-Aligned Movement cannot be a segment of a multilateral military alliance, taking into consideration the condition of membership.

Question: Take into consideration the following statements of the Non-Aligned Movement [NAM]. [1] NAM was formed during the second world war, [2] It facilitated a platform for independent nations to join together.

Options: [A] Only 1, [B] Only 2, [C] 1 and 2 [D] 1,2, and 3

Answer: Option B (Only 2) It facilitated a platform for the independent nations to join together.

UPSC Articles
Bhikaji Cama Climate of India
Seals of Harappan Civilization Bank Rate
Akbar National Development Council NDC
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights NCPCR Koppen Climate Classification
Cooperative Federalism Principal Organs of UN
Minerals in India Integration of Princely States
Composition of Atmosphere Planning Commission
Our Apps Playstore
SSC and Bank
Other Exams
GradeStack Learning Pvt. Ltd.Windsor IT Park, Tower - A, 2nd Floor, Sector 125, Noida, Uttar Pradesh 201303
Home Practice Test Series Premium