The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a Movement of countries representing the interests and priorities of developing countries. The Movement has its origin in the Asia-Africa Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955. 

    • The meeting was convened upon the invitation of the Prime Ministers of Burma, Ceylon, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan and brought together leaders of 29 states, mostly former colonies, from the two continents of Africa and Asia, to discuss common concerns and to develop joint policies in international relations.
    • The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide.
  • The purpose of the organization was enumerated by Fidel Castro in his Havana Declaration of 1979 as 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' members and contain 55% of the world population.


  • In order to fulfill the aims of debating and advancing a strategy designed to achieve such objectives, the Bandung Asian-African Conference was held in Indonesia in April 1955.
  • This First Summit of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries was convened by the leaders of India, Indonesia, Egypt, Syria, and Yugoslavia. On April 26, 1961, the Presidents of the Arab Republic of Egypt (Nasser) and Yugoslavia (Tito) addressed the Heads of State and Government of 21 "non-Aligned" countries and suggested that, taking recent world events and the rise of international tensions into account, a Conference should be held to promote an improvement in international relations, a resistance to policies of force and a constructive settlement of conflicts and other issues of concern in the world.
  • By the end of the 1980s, the Movement was facing the great challenge brought about by the collapse of the socialist block. The end of the clash between the two antagonistic blocks that was the reason for its existence, name, and essence was seen by some as the beginning of the end for the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries.
  • During the 14th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Havana, Cuba in September 2006, the Heads of States and Governments of the member countries reaffirmed their commitment to the ideals, principles, and purposes upon which the movement was founded and with the principles and purposes enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

RECENT SUMMIT:  17th 13–18 September 2016 Venezuela Porlamar 18th 25–26 October[ 2019 Azerbaijan Baku Ten principles of NAM:

  1. Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
  2. Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
  3. Recognition of the movements for national independence.
  4. Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations, large and small.
  5. Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
  6. Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  7. Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
  8. Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  9. Promotion of mutual interests and cooperation.
  10. Respect for justice and international obligations.

Current activities of NAM: Criticism of US policy: In recent years the organization has criticized certain aspects of US foreign policy. The 2003 invasion of Iraq and the War on Terrorism, its attempts to stifle Iran and North Korea's nuclear plans, and its other actions have been denounced by some members of the Non-Aligned Movement. Sustainable development: The movement is publicly committed to the tenets of sustainable development and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, but it believes that the international community has not created conditions conducive to development and has infringed upon the right to sovereign development by each member state. Issues such as globalization, the debt burden, unfair trade practices, the decline in foreign aid, donor conditionality, and the lack of democracy in international financial decision-making are cited as factors inhibiting development. Reforms of the UN: The movement has been outspoken in its criticism of current UN structures and power dynamics, stating that the organization has been utilized by powerful states in ways that violate the movement's principles. It has made a number of recommendations that it says would strengthen the representation and power of "non-aligned" states. The proposed UN reforms are also aimed at improving the transparency and democracy of UN decision-making. South-South cooperation: The movement has collaborated with other organizations of the developing world – primarily the Group of 77 – forming a number of joint committees and releasing statements and documents representing the shared interests of both groups.  How India has benefitted from NAM:

  • High Ideals: In a world racked by geopolitical muscle flexing, the NAM refreshingly provides a unique approach to disarmament and economic development. It frees INDIA from a cluster-mind mentality that has plagued the foreign policy of many European nations.
    • NAM enabled India and many newly born countries in the 1950’s and 1960’s their sovereignty and alleviated the fears of neo-colonialism.
  • Most of the NAM countries are developing or under-developed hence collaboration to end exploitation, war, hunger, poverty, and disease on the earth can revive and make NAM more relevant.  The most important role for NAM today lies in framing a concrete economic agenda for a just and fair international order.
  • NAM made India a leader for many countries who didn’t want to ally with the then global powers USA or USSR. India became a soft-power leader which still holds good to date.
  • Balanced friendship: India’s non-alignment gave her the opportunity to get the best of both the global superpowers of the time in terms of aid, military support, etc. This was in line with her objectives of national development.
  • India didn't favor any one of the superpowers, the US and the USSR, it had the benefit of help from both the countries. For example - India bought MIGs from Russia and asked the US for other technology-related assistance.
  • India with the policy of Non-alignment could take up independent policies without the interference of any of the superpowers - US and USSR. India was also one of the balancers of power relations in the Cold War era. Overall Non-alignment helped India in its early and the most important stage of growth.
  • Engagements in multiple forums(IBSA, BASIC, BRICS, QUAD, AIIB, G4, G20 etc )  for varying economic, political and security purposes have made the Non-Aligned Movement “largely incidental” to India’s pursuit of its national interest since the end of the Cold War.


    • NAM declaration has several elements which developing nations need to take note of. These included—to decisively addressing the challenges posed in the areas of peace, economic and social development, human rights and international cooperation, to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes.
  • Multi-polarity: Now the present world scenario is in a slow but steady pace. Unipolar is slowly shifting to the multi-polar world and eager to look into the matter of global economic issues. Even G20 realized that they cannot withstand without developing nations in this phase of the acute crisis.
  • It can be used as a platform to bring about disarmament.
  • Voice of the South Bloc (Third World Countries)
  • Stability in the rising multipolar world order
  • It can help to contain the rise of China by raising a collective voice.
  • A platform where India’s Leadership is recognized
  • A unique platform of countries with dissimilar backgrounds and interests
  • It can be used to gather support for India’s quest to become a permanent member of the UNSC.
  • Check on big power ambitions-NAM constitute of 120 developing nations and this overwhelming strength of this third world nation act as a check on big power ambitions. It stood as a unifying force against the traditional foreign policy of great powers and strictly restricts imperialism, nationalism, and universalism.
  • Economic growth - The countries of NAM have inherent assets, such as favorable demography, demand, and favourable location. Cooperation can lead them to higher and sustainable economic growth. It can be an alternative to regional groupings like TPP and RCEP.


  • Could not prevent India-Pakistan wars and indo China wars: during wars NAM members adopted a diplomatic approach. To begin with, during the 1962 War with China, Ghana, and Indonesia – two of the co-founders of NAM, along with India – adopted explicitly pro-China positions. Ghana, which had developed close economic ties with China, even cautioned the United Kingdom against giving military aid to India since it might “aggravate the unfortunate situation”.
    • As the world has transitioned from bipolar to multipolar. The world is witnessing the rise of new world powers like China, India thus is moving towards multipolar world.
  • No coordinated approach: NAM was formed more out of political compulsions and friendship of leaders rather than for a concrete purpose. Members of the NAM have a different political, social and economic structure which hinders any cohesive action each with their own set of interests. Most of the NAM countries are facing


  • India has recently become a defense partner of the U.S. and a member of the “QUAD”.

Agreements between the USA and INDIA- LEMOA, BECA, DTTI, etc.

  • Russia’s drift from India and the emergence of a Russia-China-Pakistan trilateral.
  • Prime minister skipping summits.
  • The rising influence of BRICS.
  • India being a founder and largest member in NAM was an active participant in NAM meetings till the 1970s but India’s inclination towards erstwhile USSR created confusion in smaller members. It led to the weakening of NAM and small nations drifted towards either the US or USSR. 
  • India is a member of the G20 and has declared itself as a nuclear weapons power and has for all practical purposes abandoned the call for global nuclear disarmament.


    • Most of the NAM countries are developing or under-developed hence collaboration to end exploitation, war, hunger, poverty, and disease on the earth can revive and make NAM more relevant.  The most important role for NAM today lies in framing a concrete economic agenda for a just and fair international order.
  • In-fact its relevance is being more prominent than ever before, in the present scenario, NAM nature is more inclined towards economic relevance than political relevance. Hence NAM in the present time is well embedded in international politics, its role as a vital impact and it emerged as the powerful creed which is more powerful than the two power blocks put together at that time.
  • We are more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. 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 short, effective multilateralism remains  the only answer.

India slams Pakistan for using NAM meet to ‘justify terrorism’

Highlights of recent summit: held on 25-26th October

  • Vice-President Venkaiah naidu stated: Pakistan clearly needs to do much more to earn confidence of the international community. It must decisively abjure terrorism — for its own good, for that of its neighbours and for the world.”
  • NAM members to introspect and reflect upon the group’s achievements to make it relevant and effective in the face of new challenges.
  • Called for achieving a just, equitable and representative global governance system by reforming the United Nations, including the Security Council to meet the contemporary realities of the 21st century.

Also read: Modi Skips NAM Summit Again Let Best Asian Brain To Fight Climate Change