- NAM at 60 marks an age of Indian alignment
- The enduring relevance of Nehru’s legacy
NAM at 60 marks an age of Indian alignment
The birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru in November and the 60th anniversary of the Non-Aligned Movement prompt reflection on Nehru’s major contribution to the field of international relations.
GS-II: International Relations (India’s Foreign Policy), GS-I: History
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is Non-Alignment Movement?
- Goals of Non-Alignment Movement
- Objectives of NAM
- NAM in cold War Era
- Failures of NAM
- Relevance of NAM in contemporary time
What is Non-Alignment Movement?
The Non-Aligned Movement was formed during the Cold War 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.
Goals of Non-Alignment Movement
- The country should have adopted an independent policy based on the coexistence of States with different political and social systems and on non-alignment or should be showing a trend in favour of such a policy.
- The country should not be a member of a multilateral military alliance concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts.
- If a country has a bilateral military agreement with a Great Power, or is a member of a regional defence pact, the agreement or pact should not be one deliberately concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts.
- If it has conceded military bases to a Foreign Power the concession should not have been made in the context of Great Power conflicts.
Objectives of NAM
- 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.
NAM in cold War Era
- Against Apartheid: The evil of apartheid was massively prevalent in African countries like South Africa, its was on the agenda of NAM right from first conference.
- Disarmament: The Non-aligned Movement repeatedly comes out for maintenance of peace, ‘the cessation of arms race and the peaceful coexistence of all States.
- UNSC reforms: Right from its inception NAM was in the favour of UNSC reforms, it was against the domination of US and USSR.
- Failed to resolve regional tensions: In the era of cold war the tension in South Asia escalated due to regional conflict between India- China and India-Pakistan. NAM failed to avoid tensions in the region, that further led to the nuclearization of the region.
Failures of NAM
- Only two members of Summit Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement, Cyprus and Ethiopia, supported India in the war with China.
- Among the Non-Aligned Movement’s members was a plenitude of varying alignments, a weakness aggravated by not internalising their own precepts of human rights and peaceful settlement of disputes on the grounds of not violating the sacred principle of sovereign domestic jurisdiction.
- Other failures were lack of collective action and collective self-reliance, and the non-establishment of an equitable international economic or information order.
- The Movement could not dent, let alone break, the prevailing world order.
Relevance of NAM in contemporary time
NAM continues to hold relevance as a platform and due to its principles.
- World peace – NAM has played an active role in preserving world peace. It still stands by its founding principles, idea and purpose i.e. to establish the peaceful and prosperous world. It prohibited invasion of any country, promoted disarmament and a sovereign world order.
- Territorial integrity and sovereignty – NAM stands with this principle and proved its repeated relevance with the idea of preserving the independence of every nation.
- Third World nations – Third world countries fighting against socio-economic problems since they have been exploited for a long time by other developed nations, NAM acted as a protector for these small countries against the western hegemony.
- Support of UN – NAM’s total strength compromises of 118 developing countries and most of them being a member of UN General Assembly. It represents two third members of general assembly, hence NAM members act as important vote blocking group in UN.
- Equitable world order – NAM promotes equitable world order. It can act as a bridge between the political and ideological differences existing in the international environment.
- Interest of developing countries – If disputes arise between developed and developing nation at any point of a concerned topic for example WTO, then NAM act as a platform which negotiates and conclude disputes peacefully securing the favourable decisions for each member nation.
- Cultural diversity and human rights – In the environment of gross human right violation, it can provide a platform to raise such issues and resolve the same through its principles.
- Sustainable development – NAM supported the concept of sustainable development and can lead the world toward sustainability. Can be used as larger platform to make consensus on global burning issues like climate change, migration and global terrorism.
-Source: The Hindu
The enduring relevance of Nehru’s legacy
The birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru in November calls for the
GS-I: History (Modern History)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Contributions of Nehru
- More about Nehru’s Principles
- Four men embodied the vision of free India in the 1940s — Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Ambedkar.
- Gandhi’s moral rectitude, allied to Jawaharlal Nehru’s political passion, fashioned both the strategy and tactics for the struggle against British rule.
- Sardar Patel’s firm hand on the administration integrated the nation and established peace and stability.
- Ambedkar’s erudition and legal acumen helped translate the dreams of a generation into a working legal document that laid the foundations for an enduring democracy.
Contributions of Nehru
- Nehru’s strength was his vision, his nature of politics, his incorruptible nature and his ability to instil faith in the masses. Despite his popularity, he instilled values of democracy in Indian polity and society.
- His legacy can be understood through – democratic institution building, pan India secularism, socialist economics at home, and a foreign policy of nonalignment.
- After the death of Gandhi, he had unbridled power, but he never misused it.
- He followed all protocols with all respect to the post of president and Vice President.
- He did not interfere in the functioning of the judiciary.
- He wrote letters to chief ministers seeking their opinions.
- He had firm faith in having a strong opposition in Parliament.
- He was always accessible to people, offered daily darshan at home, and never forgot that the power comes from the people.
More about Nehru’s Principles
- Four principal pillars of Nehru’s legacy to India (all of which were integral to a vision of Indianness that is fundamentally challenged today):
- Democratic institution-building,
- Staunch pan-Indian secularism,
- Socialist economics at home, and
- A foreign policy of non-alignment,
- Of these, it is the edifice of democracy that Nehru constructed that remains the most indispensable pillar of his contributions to India.
- It was by no means axiomatic that a country like India, riven by so many internal differences and diversities, beset by acute poverty and torn apart by Partition, would be or remain democratic.
- Many developing countries found themselves turning in the opposite direction soon after Independence, arguing that a firm hand was necessary to promote national unity and guide development.
- With Gandhi’s death, Nehru could have very well assumed unlimited power within the county. And yet, he himself was such a convinced democrat, profoundly wary of the risks of autocracy, that, at the crest of his rise, he authored an anonymous article warning Indians of the dangers of giving dictatorial temptations to Jawaharlal Nehru.
- A plural society has much to learn from Nehru’s record. Critical engagement with his record is a must. An India sans Nehru’s legacy of democratic values stands to lose far more than it will gain.
- It was Nehru who, by his scrupulous regard for both the form and the substance of democracy, instilled democratic habits in our country.
- His respect for Parliament, his regard for the independence of the judiciary, his courtesy to those of different political convictions, his commitment to free elections, and his deference to institutions over individuals, all left us a precious legacy of freedom.
- The very fact that each day over a billion Indians govern themselves in a pluralist democracy is testimony to the deeds and words of Nehru.
-Source: The Hindu