Q. Discuss the nature and character of Non-alignment movement.

Q. Discuss the nature and character of Non-alignment movement. [20 Marks]


  • The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a group of states which are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. ©
  • The organization was founded in Belgrade in 1961, and was largely conceived by India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru; Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno; Egypt’s second president, Gamal Abdel Nasser; Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah; and Yugoslavia’s president, Josip Broz Tito.

Nature/character of NAM

  • Based on principle of Non-alignment:
    • Non-alignment symbolised independent vision, independent posture,, independent stand.
    • It implied pursuance of independent foreign policy, rejection of every form of dominance
  • Pragmatic move on the part of newly independent nations that was to protect and promote their hard won freedom and their interest such as to preserve the independence, economic development etc.
  • NAM was not a non-commitment/ neutrality/isolation/ non-involvement
    • It was a political concept whereas neutralism is legal concept written in the constitution of the country. For e.g. Austria and Switzerland followed neutralism, not participate in any war. (Now Turkmenistan- Permanent neutrality)
    • Not a provision written in constitution.
    • Neutralism is a permanent feature of state-policy, Non-alignment is not.
    • NAM instead of isolation or non-commitment, stood for active and assertive role.
    • It presented a new alternative in international relation i.e. alternative of international cooperation and peace.
  • NAM didn’t represent Third Bloc:
    • A bloc need a leader country around which the entire system revolves. (e.g. Capitalist bloc- USA; Communist Bloc- USSR)
    • The combined military strength of all Third World countries was not equal to strength necessary to form a Bloc while Bloc system requires minimum military strength.
    • NAM members don’t follow a completely uniform military policy which is also requirement of a Bloc system.
  • NAM was not a opportunism as some branded it so.
    • Its objective was not to gain advantage by playing one power against other or gaining benefits from both.
  • Secretaries General of the NAM had included such diverse figures as Suharto, an authoritarian anti-communist, and Nelson Mandela, a democratic socialist.
  • During the 1970s and early 1980s, the NAM also sponsored campaigns for restructuring commercial relations between developed and developing nations, namely the New International Economic Order (NIEO), and its cultural offspring, the New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO).
    • In 1960s, NAM presented the idea of NIEO (New International Economic Order)
      • This was an ide of an economic order in which the interest of Third World stand promoted and protected.
      • The focus was the economic assitance, promotion of exports and a share in international decision making (in economic field)
      • UNGA passed a resolution on NIEO in 1974 and also called for North-South Dialogue. (North- Developed; South- Underdeveloped)
      • When North-South Dialogue did not produce desirable results, the idea of South-South Cooperation emerged and grew.
    • NAM stood for cultural freedom in the face of dominance of western communication system.
      • Western communication system subverted the political sovereignty of Third World nations by encroaching upon the domains of the Third World nations.
      • Western communication system subverted the traditional values of the Third World nations.
      • Western communication system presented distorted facts about the Third World nation.
      • NAM called for New World Information and Communication Order (NWICO) and in the pursuance of this formed a Non-aligned news pool in 1976.
  • Peace and Disarmament:
    • Consisting of many governments with vastly different ideologies, the Non-Aligned Movement is unified by its commitment to world peace and security.
    • At the seventh summit held in New Delhi in March 1983, the movement described itself as “history’s biggest peace movement”.
    • The movement places equal emphasis on disarmament. NAM’s commitment to peace pre-dates its formal institutionalisation in 1961.
    • The Brioni meeting between heads of governments of India, Egypt and Yugoslavia in 1956 recognized that there exists a vital link between struggle for peace and endeavours for disarmament.
  • Other:
    • A new alternative in international relation- peace and cooperation
    • Relaxation of Cold War tension- role in Detente
    • Voice against imperialism, colonialism, racism, apartheid, all form of dominance
    • Role in softening conflict situation like Arab-Israel conflict, Vietnam War
    • Strengthening of UN because NAM countries constituted majority
    • Role in creation of Third World groupings such as G-77 in 1964, G-24 in 1971, G-15 in 1989
    • Promotion of South-South cooperation
    • Presentation of the idea of NIEO
    • Projecting the national interest of Third World countries
    • Role in formation of UNCTAD
    • Role in disarmament issues such as PTBT (Partial Test Ban Treaty), 1963, NPT, 1970
    • Role in protection of environment, human rights etc.©

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