A meeting of a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) committee that includes India to support a Palestinian bid for upgraded U.N. membership was cancelled at the last minute on 5.08.2012 after Israel refused to allow representatives of five countries to enter West Bank.
The meeting of 12 representatives of the committee with Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership was scheduled for 6.08.2012.
Ministers and representatives were to meet in the West Bank city of Ramallah and sign a declaration in support of a fresh Palestinian bid, seeking upgrading of its status from observer to non-member state.
Ministers and representatives from Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cuba and Malaysia were denied permits to enter Ramallah.
“Officials from other countries, like India, which have diplomatic ties with Israel can attend the same without any problems,” Ilana Shtein, deputy spokesperson at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, told PTI.
India Opposes Cancellation
New Delhi: Strongly objecting to cancellation of the NAM panel meeting in Ramallah, India on Monday said the move strengthened its resolve to assist Palestinian people in their legitimate quest to dignity and right to statehood.
“We have taken strong objection to the fact that we were unable to express solidarity with the Palestinian people by holding this meeting in Ramallah,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told.
He was replying to questions on the last minute cancellation of a meeting of the NAM committee to support the Palestinian bid for upgraded UN membership after Israel refused to allow representatives of five countries to enter the occupied West Bank.
“This only strengthens our resolve to assist the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest to dignity and their inalienable right to statehood,” Akbaruddin said.
India’s representative on the committee Sanjay Singh, Secretary (East) in the External Affairs Ministry, was in Amman enroute Ramallah when the cancellation of the meeting was announced 5.08.2012.
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a group of states considering themselves not aligned formally with or against any major power bloc. As of 2012, the movement had 120 members and 21 observer countries.
The organization was founded in Belgrade in 1961, and was largely the brainchild of Yugoslavia’s president, Josip Broz Tito, India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, Egypt’s second president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah, and Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno. All five leaders were prominent advocates of a middle course for states in the Developing World between the Western and Eastern blocs in the Cold War. The phrase itself was first used to represent the doctrine by Indian diplomat and statesman V.K. Krishna Menon in 1953, at the United Nations.
In a speech given during the Havana Declaration of 1979, Fidel Castro said the purpose of the organization is to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries” in their “struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics”. The countries of the Non-Aligned Movement represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations’s members and contain 55% of the world population. Membership is particularly concentrated in countries considered to be developing or part of the Third World.
Members have at times included the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Argentina, the South West Africa People’s Organization, Cyprus, and Malta. Brazil has never been a formal member of the movement, but shares many of the aims of Non-Aligned Movement and frequently sends observers to the Non-Aligned Movement’s summits. While many of the Non-Aligned Movement’s members were actually quite closely aligned with one or another of the super powers, the movement still maintained surprising amounts of cohesion throughout the Cold War. Some members were involved in serious conflicts with other members (e.g., India and Pakistan, Iran and Iraq). The movement fractured from its own internal contradictions when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. While the Soviet allies supported the invasion, other members of the movement (particularly predominantly Muslim states) condemned it.
Because the Non-Aligned Movement was formed as an attempt to thwart the Cold War it has struggled to find relevance since the Cold War ended. After the breakup of Yugoslavia, a founding member, its membership was suspended in 1992 at the regular Ministerial Meeting of the Movement, held in New York during the regular yearly session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The successor states of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have expressed little interest in membership, though some have observer status. In 2004, Malta and Cyprus ceased to be members and joined the European Union. Belarus remains the sole member of the Movement in Europe. Turkmenistan, Belarus and the Dominican Republic are the most recent entrants. The applications of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Costa Rica were rejected in 1995 and 1998.
The next NAM summit will take place in August 2012 in Tehran Iran, but they are some concerns regarding the willingness of heads of states to attend the summit due to the growing criticism to the support of Iran to the Syrian government and the reports on involvement of Iran in a terror attack in New Delhi in February 2012.
Initiative of five
The Non-Aligned movement was never established as a formal organization, but became the name to refer to the participants of the Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries first held in 1961. The term “non-alignment” itself was coined by V.K. Krishna Menon in 1953 remarks at the United Nations. Menon’s friend, Jawaharlal Nehru used the phrase in a 1954 speech in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In his speech, Nehru described the five pillars to be used as a guide for Sino-Indian relations, which were first put forth by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. Called Panchsheel (five restraints), these principles would later serve as the basis of the Non-Aligned Movement. The five principles were:
- Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty
- Mutual non-aggression
- Mutual non-interference in domestic affairs
- Equality and mutual benefit
- Peaceful co-existence
A significant milestone in the development of the Non-Aligned Movement was the 1955 Bandung Conference, a conference of Asian and African states hosted by Indonesian president Sukarno, who gave a significant contribution to promote this movement. The attending nations declared their desire not to become involved in the Cold War and adopted a “declaration on promotion of world peace and cooperation”, which included Nehru’s five principles. Six years after Bandung, an initiative of Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito led to the first Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, which was held in September 1961 in Belgrade.The term non aligned movement appears first in the fifth conference in 1976, where participating countries are denoted as members of the movement.
At the Lusaka Conference in September 1970, the member nations added as aims of the movement the peaceful resolution of disputes and the abstention from the big power military alliances and pacts. Another added aim was opposition to stationing of military bases in foreign countries.
The founding fathers of the Non-aligned movement were: Sukarno of Indonesia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. Their actions were known as ‘The Initiative of Five’.
The chairmanship rotates between countries and changes at every summit of heads of state or government to the country organizing the summit.
The current requirements are that the candidate country has displayed practices in accordance with the ten “Bandung principles”:
- 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.
Role after the Cold War
Since the end of the Cold War and the formal end of colonialism, the Non-Aligned Movement has been forced to redefine itself and reinvent its purpose in the current world system. A major question has been whether many of its foundational ideologies, principally national independence, territorial integrity, and the struggle against colonialism and imperialism, can be applied to contemporary issues. The movement has emphasised its principles of multilateralism, equality, and mutual non-aggression in attempting to become a stronger voice for the global South, and an instrument that can be utilised to promote the needs of member nations at the international level and strengthen their political leverage when negotiating with developed nations. In its efforts to advance Southern interests, the movement has stressed the importance of cooperation and unity amongst member states, but as in the past, cohesion remains a problem since the size of the organisation and the divergence of agendas and allegiances present the ongoing potential for fragmentation. While agreement on basic principles has been smooth, taking definitive action vis-à-vis particular international issues has been rare, with the movement preferring to assert its criticism or support rather than pass hard-line resolutions. The movement continues to see a role for itself, as in its view, the world’s poorest nations remain exploited and marginalised, no longer by opposing superpowers, but rather in a uni-polar world and it is Western hegemony and neo-colonialism that the movement has really re-aligned itself against. It opposes foreign occupation, interference in internal affairs, and aggressive unilateral measures, but it has also shifted to focus on the socio-economic challenges facing member states, especially the inequalities manifested by globalization and the implications of neo-liberal policies.
NonAlignment 2.0 is an attempt to identify the basic principles that should guide India’s foreign and strategic policy over the next decade. The views it sets out are rooted in the conviction that the success of India’s own internal development will depend decisively on how effectively we manage our global opportunities in order to maximize our choices—thereby enlarging our domestic options to the benefit of all Indians.
The purposes of the present strategy document are three-fold:
- to lay out the opportunitiesthat India enjoys in the international sphere;
- to identify the challenges and threats it is likely to confront; and
- to define the broad perspective and approach that India should adopt as it works to enhance its strategic autonomy in global circumstances that, for some time to come, are likely to remain volatile and uncertain.
NonAlignment 2.0 is the product of collective deliberat ion, debate and report writing involvinga diverse and independent group of analysts and policy makers, namely: Sunil Khilnani, Rajiv Kumar, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Prakash Menon, Nandan Nilekani, Srinath Raghavan, Shyam Saran, Siddharth Varadarajan. The group was convened in November 2010 and met at regular intervals for over a year, until January 2012. Also present at some of the meetings were the National Security Advisor, Shivshankar Menon, and the Deputy NationalSecurity Advisors, Alok Prasad and Latha Reddy. The meetings were invariably lively and full of argument and constructive critique: the resulting text therefore, should not be seen as one with whose every line all members of the group would agree. Rather than offer bland consensus, we have preferred a document that we hope will prompt further discussion and elaboration. It is the case, however, that all members of the group fully endorse the basic principles and perspectives embodied in NonAlignment 2.0.
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