Context: India and Egypt on Thursday reiterated support for the Non-Aligned Movement. In a joint statement issued after the end of bilateral engagements for President Abdel Fateh el-Sisi, who was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade here, both countries expressed desire for exchange of technology between their defence industries
About the News
- India and Egypt reaffirmed their commitment to multilateralism, the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law, the founding values of the Non-Aligned Movement, and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states.
- India and Egypt agreed to “initiate new engagements to intensify military-to-military engagements” and planned more joint exercises between the armed forces of the two countries
- Egypt’s relation with India was also helped by its display of pragmatism especially in the backdrop of the Nupur Sharma controversy of 2022 when Cairo maintained silence while certain Gulf countries were vocal in India’s criticism.
- The two governments agreed to fight terrorism in all forms, “including cross-border terrorism” and intensify consultation between their respective National Security Councils.
About Non-Aligned Movement
- The Non-Aligned Movement was formed during the Cold War, largely on the initiative of then-Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito, as an organization of States that did not seek to formally align themselves with either the United States or the Soviet Union, but sought to remain independent or neutral.
- The basic concept for the group originated in 1955 during discussions that took place at the Asia-Africa Bandung Conference held in Indonesia.
- In the context of the Cold War, they argued, countries of the developing world should abstain from allying with either of the two superpowers (the United States and the U.S.S.R.) and should instead join together in support of national self-determination against all forms of colonialism and imperialism.
- The Non-Aligned Movement was founded and held its first conference (the Belgrade Conference) in 1961 under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Sukarno of Indonesia.
- Unlike the United Nations (UN) or the Organization of American States, the Non-Aligned Movement has no formal constitution or permanent secretariat. All members of the Non-Aligned Movement have equal weight within its organization.
- The movement’s positions are reached by consensus in the Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government, which usually convenes every three years.
- Currently there are 120 members
- 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.
- At present, an addition goal is facilitating a restructuring of the international economic order.
What are the principles of Non Align Movement?
- Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
- Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
- Recognition of the movements for national independence.
- Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations, large and small.
- Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
- Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
- Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
- Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
- Promotion of mutual interests and co-operation.
- Respect for justice and international obligations
- NAM does not have a formal constitution or permanent secretariat, and its administration is non-hierarchical and rotational. Decisions are made by consensus, which requires substantial agreement, but not unanimity
- Created in 1997, this body consists of past, serving and future Chairs, and operates at the discretion of the incumbent chair.
Non-Aligned Security Council Caucus
- The Caucus consists of NAM countries who are elected to the UN Security Council as rotating members. These States seek to adopt unified positions and to reflect the decisions and positions adopted at NAM Summits and Ministerial Conferences.
- India being a founder and largest member in NAM was an active participant in NAM meetings
- It is a widely held belief that the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was highly relevant for India and its foreign policy interests during the bipolar era of the Cold War a
- It is true that NAM played an important role during the Cold War years in furthering many of the causes that India advocated: decolonisation, end to apartheid, global nuclear disarmament, ushering in of new international economic and information orders, etc. But what is generally ignored is the fact that NAM was more or less irrelevant for India in terms of helping to protect and promote its security and interests – the principal criterion by which the utility of a multilateral group should be measured.
- NAM’s lack of utility for protecting and promoting India’s security and interests is clearly demonstrated by the diplomatic positions adopted by member countries during the various wars in which India has been involved. On each of these occasions, NAM members invariably adopted diplomatic positions that were not favourable towards or supportive of India.
Relevance of NAM in the current Scenario
- It is a widely held belief that the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was highly relevant for India and its foreign policy interests during the bipolar era of the Cold War and that it has, since the 1990s, lost this relevance in a unipolar international order.
- The world today has moved on from what the NAM founding leaders faced in Bandung in 1955. The scales of global geo-political balance have shifted, and continue to do so, propelled by forces of globalisation and transformational technological progress.
- Long-held assumption and alignments rooted in the legacies of colonialism and the ideology of the Cold War are making way for new configurations and partnerships
- Climate change, environmental degradation, terrorism, radicalisation, poverty, public health emergencies, humanitarian and natural calamities, cyber security threats, and the serious security implications of frontier technologies are just some of the challenges of this new world.
- These challenges can only be faced together, not when we are divided. It requires collaboration, not coercion.
- In sum, the Non-Aligned Movement was not relevant for promoting India’s important national interests during the Cold War years. And since the end of the Cold War, India’s increasing integration with international economic, political and security structures has led to NAM losing even its earlier limited usefulness as a vehicle for articulating India’s dissatisfaction with the international order.