Has the Non- Alignment Movement(NAM) lost its relevance in a multipolar world?

Non-alignment movement is one of the major foreign policy developed and adopted during the cold war era by newly independent countries who did not want to join any of the existing blocs. NAM was originated by 25 nations(newly independent) at Belgrade conference. India was among the founding member of NAM. It was adopted by Asian, African, and Latin American countries. NAM became a protector to escape from race of militarization promoted by two world power at that time i.e. USSR and USA for the newly independent countries.

Critics have called NAM irrelevant today as the world has transitioned from bi-polar to multipolar. World is witnessing the rise of new world powers like China, India thus is moving towards multi-lateralism. Most of the nations today have strong economic and defence ties with either USA or China. Emergence of new regional groupings like G20, BRICS which have clearly laid down scope and objective of engagement and outcome overshadow NAM which does not have any of these. NAM was formed more out of political compulsions and friendship of leaders rather than for a concrete purpose. Members of the NAM have 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 domestic political, social and economic crisis.. For India NAM’s lacks utility for protecting and promoting India’s security and interests.

NAM in spite of shortcomings holds the potential to emerge as powerful voice on the international platform. Pursuit of equality in world affairs through pooling the diplomatic resources of Third World states in international forums can be used to make them relevant in UN, where UNSC permanent members reforms to reflect current world order remains a distant dream. NAM can create of a new world based on rational, democratic, equitable and non-exploitative inter-states relation. The Non-Alignment countries have to learn to maneuver among them and to successfully face the menace of new colonialism that is sought to be imposed through various WTO round.

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 economic order. The WTO rules and procedures have failed to provide adequate economic gains to the Third World.  NAM’s spectrum could be further enlarged by including environmental issues like greenhouse gas emissions, health concerns especially AIDS, drug trafficking, rising instances of poverty, food crisis and unemployment mostly within the NAM members and LDC countries, the rising digital divide between the rich and poor and fight against all shades of extremism, xenophobia, ethnic nationalism and regional wars.

NAM in its older form has lost relevance and needs re-invention to stay vibrant and relevant.