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Non-Aligned Movement summit

Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Non-Aligned Movement summit

What to study?

For Prelims: What is NAM, objectives, composition and meets.

For Mains: Is NAM losing it’s relevance today, what’s the way out?

Context: Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi will participate in a video conference meeting of non-alignment movement (NAM) on COVID crisis.


This is the first time PM Modi is taking part in a NAM meeting since taking 2014 when he first became the Prime Minister. The last time any Indian PM participated at Tehran NAM meet was 2012 with the then PM Manmohan Singh was present.

Both in 2016, 2018 summits of NAM, India was represented at Vice President level. The last NAM Summit happened in 2019 in Azerbaijan, before that it was 2016 in Venezuela.


Azerbaijan is the president of the grouping from 2019-2022 and the meet is being organised under the leadership of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. The title of the summit is “We stand together against COVID-19”.

What is non- aligned movement?

Non-Aligned Movement is an idea that emerged in 1950. NAM is the second-largest platform globally in terms of country membership after the UN. It currently has more than 120 members.

The evolution of NAM:

During 1950s, the world was emerging out of the long, dark period of colonialism.

  1. Newly independent nations dreamed they could make their way in this new world without hewing to either of the big powers, the United States and the Soviet Union, eschewing the icy hostilities of the Cold War and bask in the warmth of Third World (as it was then known) cooperation.
  2. The co-founders were India’s Jawaharlal Nehru, Indonesia’s Sukarno, Egypt’s Gemal Abdel Nasser, Yugoslavia’s Josep Broz Tito, and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah were all figures of international consequence, and their collective charisma attracted lesser lights from around the world.
  3. The Asian-African Conference of 1955 held in Bandung was the catalyst for the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement.
  4. The actual formation took place in Belgrade, where the Non-Aligned Movement was formally established by the leaders of 25 developing countries in 1961.

Why is it losing relevance today? – Criticisms:

  • NAM today has grown into a forum where developing nations could blame all their problems on the big powers.
  • It has become a platform for some of the world’s most despicable leaders to preen and posture.
  • NAM’s reason to exist ended in 1989, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the end of the Cold War. The world was left with a single superpower, the US, but quickly became multipolar, with China and India emerging as strong magnetic forces in their own right.

Way ahead:

There are now new kinds of alignments, more likely to be defined by economics and geography than by ideology. To be aligned is now a virtue, a sign of good leadership. Countries, especially small ones, can and should aim for multiple alignments of their interests. There is now no country in the world that can claim to be non-aligned.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Organisations to which India is not a member.
  2. Organisations in which India has an observer status.
  3. Members of NAM.
  4. Founders of NAM.
  5. India’s participation in NAM.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives and significance of Non Aligned Movement.

Sources: pib.