International organisations were formed after the Second World War in cold war situation by the States that did not seek to have any align with either the United States or the USSR, but were independent or neutral. NAM was set with a primary goal that every country should have its independent policy. It provided a new twist in international politics and served as a protector for many developing countries to maintain their independence from the competing claims of the two superpowers. It set as a vehicle for independent countries to escape itself from the race of militarization of the two countries at the time of cold war.
The Bandung conference in 1955 of Asian and African country hosted by Indonesian President was marked as the significant milestone for the development of NAM which adopted the principle of maintaining world peace and cooperation. Subsequently, the first meeting for the NAM Summit Conference of Belgrade was held in 1961 with participants from 25 countries.
There were many positive and negative factors that influenced the formation of the movement. Identifying right of independent judgement, struggle against imperialism and neo-colonialism and use of moderation in relations with all big powers served as the three basic elements that influenced the approach of NAM.
Post-Cold war, newly independent nations like Asia and Africa were not ready to compromise with their freedom and were deeply enriched with the feeling of nationalism. The two developing countries had economic crisis and were not ready to become allied with one of the bloc and become fully dependent. They needed a platform to come together, discuss their equal social, racial and political problems and to bring development in their countries. Even after the formation of NAM, the cold war was at its peak and military alliances was the key feature for the two power blocs to increase their military power and support from smaller and less powerful countries.
Therefore, the nations decided to go for the policy of NAM that provided a platform for the two developing nations to avoid the military alliance and to become a fully independent foreign policy. Fear of overpowered by the two power blocs made them united and opt for NAM which had some conditions for joining the NAM such as
• peace loving country
• having an independent foreign policy
• having sovereign state
• non-aligned with any bloc
• mutual respect for every nation’s sovereignty and territory
• non-interference in internal affairs of other countries
• avoidance of aggression and to promote equality
• Cooperation and benefit for all nations.
These principles were known as the 10 principles of Bandung which were later adopted as the main objectives of NAM.
With the present scenario of the world in a slow yet steady pace, from uni-polar to multi polar world; NAM is still relevant in today’s world. The NAM organization itself is acting solid as ever, acting strong; giving a voice to the developing country so as to promote peace and cooperation. India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and prominent advocate of Non Aligned Movement delivered a speech explaining why every country should follow the Non Aligned Movement. He said, “The preservation of peace…it is in the pursuit of this policy that we have chosen the path of Non Alignment in any military or like pact of alliance.”
In today’s era, with a total of 17 summits organised by the members to make the movement stronger and fulfil the goals of the founding members, NAM has a total of 120 members, 17 observer states and 15 observer organizations, representing nearly two third of the UN members, or about 55 percent of the world population influencing in its decision making. NAM is considered a loose organizational structure with different economic and political interests. However, despite differences in interests and political outputs, the primary objective of all the members and organisations serves to maintain world peace and cooperation.
Economic crisis and environmental pollution are the main issues of the world in today’s context. And with the failure of G8 to maintain their stand in crisis of global economic issues without support from developing nations, NAM can be the only organization for maintaining peace and can play a big role in controlling and changing the present international environment.
Even after 50 years of its foundation, NAM strives to maintain world peace abiding by the rules of its founding principles, ideas and purpose that is to maintain peace. It promoted disarmament and prohibited invasion of any country.
The rise of Third World Nations called the ‘Global South’ after Second World War served crucial to the world politics as well as to the global governance. With great powers and in the process of becoming a centre for economic growth, it led to several problems. NAM served itself as a protector during such situation for these small developing countries and provided a platform for them to fight against the western leadership. Not just that, NAM also empowered the members of the state to be independent and take its own decision without external influence.
NAM has a crucial role to play in destruction of neo colonial system, the struggle against attempts to divide the world into spheres, the aspiration to a new international order which would be based on equality, justice and peace through summit conference.
At present, there are many external force acting in the direction of disturbing the oneness of humanity, the NAM can work itself in curing these destructive forces and create one world based on respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs, use of non-violence and threats to settle international disputes and respect for the dignity of human personality and protecting the rights of all people.
As the non-aligned system provides members a forum where they can discuss their common problems, evolve solution and work out position in tackling international problems of peace, security, development, environmental safety and human rights.