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Vishal K Kamble asked: Is NAM still significant for India?

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  • Satish Nambiar replies: This question will draw different answers depending upon the perception of the person who wishes to respond. But before trying to answer it from India’s perspective, it may be useful to analyse whether the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that evolved under the shadow of the Cold War stand-off, has continued relevance in the context of the prevailing global geo-strategic environment. With the end of the confrontation between the so-called capitalist driven ideology of the Western world led by the USA, and the socialist ideology of the Soviet-led bloc during the Cold War period; the absorption by the newly emerged East European countries, and countries like China and Russia, of much of the ideology of market driven economies; and the disintegration of many of the Cold War structures, the very concept of non-alignment becomes questionable. Not that the concept was non-questionable even in the days when it was relevant; in as much as, many of the participant countries were fully aligned with the socialist bloc.

    The sad fact is that many of the countries that were at the forefront of the movement in its early days soon drifted into one or the other camps, and remain there, or as in the case of Yugoslavia, disintegrated into separate entities. To that extent, the concept of non-alignment is hardly relevant any longer. However it still provides a useful forum for the developing countries to meet, discuss and evolve common positions on some of the problems faced by them, as also in dealing with situations emerging from actions initiated by the developed countries through a consensus of their own.

    From India’s perspective therefore, it would appear that while it has little or no significance as an ideology, it continues to have significance in providing a forum for a group that represents nations whose voice needs to be heard in the evolving global scenario.