New Non-Aligned Posture

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    In Context

    Minister of External Affairs  in his book “The India Way”, offers a critique of India’s traditional policy of “non-alignment” where he distinguishes between the “optimistic non-alignment” of the past, which he feels has failed, that must give way to more realistic “multiple engagements of the future”.

    About  Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)

    • It was created and founded during the collapse of the colonial system and the independence struggles of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world and at the height of the Cold War. 
    • It came about in 1961 because of a conference in Bandung in 1955 – saw five global leaders at the height of the Cold War: 
      • PM Nehru, President Tito of Yugoslavia, Naser of Egypt, Nkrumah of Ghana and President Sukarno of Indonesia. Today it has 120 members or 2/3rds of the UN.
    • It aimed to retain an autonomy of policy (not equidistance) between two politico-military blocs. 
    • Throughout its history, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries has played a fundamental role in the preservation of world peace and security.
    • It provided a platform for newly independent developing nations to join together to protect this autonomy. 
    • The ten principles of Bandung
      • Respect of fundamental human rights and of the objectives and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
      • Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
      • Recognition of the equality among all races and of the equality among all nations, both large and small.
      • Non-intervention or non-interference into the internal affairs of another -country.
      • Respect the right of every nation to defend itself, either individually or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
      • Non-use of collective defence pacts to benefit the specific interests of any of the great powers.
        • Non-use of pressures by any country against other countries.
    • Refraining from carrying out or threatening to carry out aggression, or from using force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
    • Peaceful solution of all international conflicts in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
    • Promotion of mutual interests and of cooperation.
    • Respect for justice and of international obligations.

    Problems with Non alignment in today’s scenario

    • The  PM Modi government has  rejected NAM as a Nehruvian era idea, and uses the terms strategic autonomy to describe its policies now and  he has not attended a NAM summit even once, becoming the first full term PM of India to skip NAM summits
    • In the past few years, India has joined multiple groupings that are built around global powers: the Quad around the United States, and the SCO around Russia and China
    • India’s problems with Pakistan, as well as countries like Malaysia and other countries that have been critical of India on Human rights violations, Jammu Kashmir, and the treatment of minorities
    • Other NAM members like Iran, Cuba, Venezuela are under heavy sanctions from the West, and India’s ties with them are no longer as robust either.
    • Terrorism is the most flagrant threat to NAM principles. 

    Latest Developments 

    • The world is facing challenges from great power conflicts again, referred to Afghanistan, Covid, Ukraine as examples where “big power rivalry” is having global consequences.
    • India has refused to heed pleas from the U.S. and Europe to endorse resolutions critical of Russia at the United Nations, and has most often abstained on voting.
      • But at the same time, India has called for diplomacy and dialogue, the need to respect sovereignty and an end to hostilities.
    • India maintains many of the NAM principles: political self-determination, mutual respect for sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in internal affairs, and equality.
    • In the wake of the current stand-off with China, there have been calls for India’s foreign policy to shed its inhibitions and make a decisive shift towards the United States, as the only viable option to counter China. The government has been more nuanced in its approach. 
      • The External Affairs Minister clarified that a rejection of non-alignment does not mean a rush to alignment

    Conclusion 

    • India’s participation in the upcoming SCO summit is a clear signal of pursuing multi-alignment with its partners worldwide.
      • PM’s the visit reinforces  commitment to an Indian foreign policy that balances various blocs — pitting India’s membership of the SCO and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) against its membership of the Quad (Australia, India, Japan, the U.S.), groups such as the I2U2 ( India-Israel-U.S.-UAE), and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). 
    • This was highlighted more recently with India joining the Russian-led ‘Vostok’ Army Exercises along with China, and plans to host SCO-RATS (or the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization) counterterror exercises while the Indian Air Force took part in the Australian ‘Pitch Black’ exercises, 
      • India is the only country that would form the intersection, a part of all of those groupings.
    • India fights for its unique brand of multi-alignment or “all-alignment” with partners worldwide, without having to choose between them. 
    • India must lead efforts to strengthen international legal frameworks to combat terrorism and its enablers, without exceptions or double standards.

    Mains Practise Question 

    [Q] Evaluate relevance of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in the context of present scenario.