NAM Dying a Slow Death - Daily Current Affair Article


The birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru and the 60th anniversary of the Non-Aligned Movement gave prompt reflection on Nehru’s major contribution to the field of international relations.


  • The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was created and founded during the collapse of the colonial system and the independence struggles of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world and at the height of the Cold War.

Congress of Vienna-

  • The concept of not aligning a country’s policy with others can be traced to the Congress of Vienna (1814-15) when the neutrality of Switzerland, by which that country would keep out of others’ conflicts, was recognised
  • The Congress of Vienna dissolved the Napoleonic world and attempted to restore the monarchies Napoleon had overthrown.
  • The Congress was the first occasion in history where on a continental scale, national representatives came together to formulate treaties .

Birth of NAM-

  • It is considered that the Bandung Asian-African Conference is the most immediate antecedent to the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement. This Conference was held in Bandung on April 18-24, 1955 and gathered 29 Heads of States belonging to the first post-colonial generation of leaders.
  • Bandung conference laid down ten principles that would govern relations among large and small nations.
  • A key role was played in this process by the then Heads of State and Government Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Ahmed Sukarno of Indonesia and Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, who later became the founding fathers of the movement.
  • Six years after Bandung, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries was founded on a wider geographical basis at the First Summit Conference of Belgrade, which was held on September 1-6, 1961.
  • Gandhi’s view- he believed in non violent solutions and spirituality, with India having a civilizing mission for mankind.
  • Nehru’s view- he had the desire to innovate in world politics and focused on the conception of modernity. He was opposed to the conformity required by both sides in the cold war.

Objectives of NAM-

  • NAM has sought to “create an independent path in world politics that would not result in member States becoming pawns in the struggles between the major powers.”
  • It identifies the right of independent judgment, the struggle against imperialism and neo-colonialism, and the use of moderation in relations with all big powers as the three basic elements that have influenced its approach.

Purposes of NAM-

  • To promote and reinforce multilateralism
  • To serve as a forum of political coordination of the developing countries to promote and defend their common interests
  • To promote unity, solidarity and cooperation between developing countries based on shared values and priorities agreed upon by consensus.
  • To defend international peace and security and settle all international disputes by peaceful means
  • To encourage relations of friendship and cooperation between all nations based on the principles of International Law
  • To promote and encourage sustainable development through international cooperation
  • To promote peaceful coexistence between nations, regardless of their political, social or economic systems.

Paradox of NAM movement-

  • Nehru ji always saw world problems as interlinked and not a binary of right and wrong.
  • He considered India’s interest first, even before the merits of the case.
  • This represents the paradox of a moral orientation in foreign policy and the compulsions of the real world.

Historical events when India followed non alignment-

  • India played a prominent role as facilitator at the 1954 Geneva peace conference on Indochina.
  • India also kept itself equidistant from both Koreas and Vietnam by not recognising them .
  • But , India recognised one party in two Chinas and two Germanies , which was opposite of the non alignment ideology.

International events when India moved away from NAM- During the Indo Pakistan war in 1971, two major alignments occurred when US aligned with Pakistan and Soviet union aligned with India. In 1971, with the signing of the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation and India’s involvement in the internal affairs of its smaller neighbours in the 1970s and 1980s tarnished its image as a non-aligned nation.

Causes of failures of NAM-

  • When Yugoslavia and Egypt became non aligned by defying the great powers and convened the first summit conference of NAM in 1961, Nehru who never considered confrontational methods , became a third but hesitant co- sponsor. And according to then Defence minister Krishna Menon ,true non alignment was to be non aligned towards the non aligned.
  • Also, another instance which indicates failure of NAM , when Cyprus and Ethiopia , the two members of the conference, supported India in the war with China
  • Many non aligned members have plentitude of varying alignments.
  • There were also lack of collective action and self reliance , and non establishment of an equitable international economy or order.

Relevance of NAM for India in present times-

  • NAM is very much important to maintain a bridge between the political and ideological differences existing in the international relations to maintain peaceful world order, when it comes to India’s bilateral and multilateral relations.
  • It can act as a platform to raise critical issues and challenges like climate change, Terrorism, Drug trafficking , organised crime etc.
  • It’s keen to support the concept of sustainable development & can lead the world toward sustainability.
  • The idea of preserving the independence of every nation to save the territorial integrity and sovereignty holds its relevance.
  • It can be seen as an economic forum for India to increase its economic trade and relations with other member countries.


The achievement of the NAM is that it has become an alternative policy, promoting co-existence, peace, disarmament, predominantly nuclear, the equal relationship among states, and opposition to bloc division and policy.

The Non-Aligned policy is not neutral but a dynamic one. The Non-Alignment has grown from a policy to a movement and shifted its focus from world peace and security to economic and environmental issues.

The Non-Aligned Movement, faced with the goals yet to be reached and the many new challenges that are arising, is called upon to maintain a prominent and leading role in the current International relations in defense of the interests and priorities of its member states and for achievement of peace and security for mankind.


  • The Hindu
General Studies Paper 2
  • International Relation