Essay Introduction: With the thaw in the cold war and the easing of strained relations between the two super powers made some people remark that the policy of Non-Alignment is no more relevant. This was a mistaken view and developed perhaps due to lack of understanding of the nature and background of Non-Alignment. The roots of Non-Alignment lie in the nationalist struggle for freedom. Many countries after achieving independence aligned themselves with one or the other power bloc under some pressure or pulls.
The Asian and African countries after independence from foreign yoke realised that the alignment with any of the superpowers was not in their national interest. This made the Asian and African countries react against the power politics of great powers. The developing countries of Asia and Africa, which were on the road of development wanted to maintain friendly relations with all the countries. Definition: Non-Alignment is best defined as not entering into military alliances with any country and in particular with any country of either the western or the communist bloc. The policy of Non-alignment does not mean neutrality. It is neither a policy of silence for fear of others nor a policy of isolation from world politics. It is rather a path of taking decisions on all issues according to one’s judgment of right and wrong. Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru on Non-Alignment said in 1949 —’ When I say that we should not align ourselves with any power bloc, obviously it does not mean that we should not be closer in our relations with some countries than with others.
That depends on different factors chiefly economic, political, agricultural and many others. These close relations will no doubt develop and we will encourage them to develop, but we do not wish to place ourselves in a position, where politically speaking, we are just lined up with a particular group or bound up to in regard to our future foreign activities. The credit of giving real meaning to the concept of Non-Alignment in the world torn by the powers blocs goes to Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India.
Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Colonel Nasser of Egypt and Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia were the supporters of policy of Non-Alignment. The three statesmen declared their unreserved adherence to the Bandung principles pleaded for the pursuance of the policy of Non-Alignment. Non-Aligned Summits: The first Non-Aligned Summit Conference was held at Balgrade in October, 1961. It was attended by the heads of governments of 24 countries.
The conference stressed the need for complete disarmament and abandonment of nuclear tests by nuclear powers. The Cairo Non-Aligned Summit Conference was held in October, 1964 was attended by 47 participants. One interesting feature of this conference was the refusal of the delegates to allow Mr. Moise Ishombe the Premier of Congo to attend the meeting. The third Non-aligned Summit was attended by 54 participants held at Lusaka in September, 1970. This conference drafted a manifesto on neutrality and economic freedom.
Due emphasis was laid on the lend of colonialism and arms race among the advanced nations. The fourth conference of the Non-aligned nations was convened at Algeria in September, 1973 and the membership rose to 76. The fifth Colombo Summit of 86 Non-aligned nations was held in August, 1976. The most outstanding achievement of the summit was the adoption of the economic declaration which warned all nations that no lasting peace and security was possible internationally without the establishment of a just and fair world order guaranteeing economic and social security.
The Balgrade Non-aligned meet held in July, 1978 was attended by 90 countries. The conference reiterated non-align movements opposition to imperialism, expansionism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, foreign domination and hegemony. The sixth Non-aligned Summit was held in Havana in September, 1979. 94 members attended the meeting. The seventh Non-aligned Summit held in New Delhi in March, 1983 was attended by a hundred odd nations. They stressed the controversial problems as restructuring of the world economic order, North-South Co-operation and disarmament.
The Eighth Non-aligned Summit held in Harare in 1986 was attended by over a hundred countries. The Ninth Non-aligned Summit was held at Balgrade and attended by 102 nations. The summit meeting of the heads of 108 countries of the Non-aligned movement held in Jakarta in September, 1992 was moderately successful in its efforts to breathe new life into the concept.
The Non-aligned Foreign Ministers Conference was held at Cairo, the Egyptian capital, where the Non-Aligned Movement members sought a great role for themselves in the UN Security Council The eleventh summit of non-aligned movement was held in Coastal city of Cartogena, Columbia in South America from October 18, 1995. It was the second summit to be held in Latin America. Future of Non-Aligned Movement: With the end of the Cold War there has been a qualitative change in the geo-political situation rendering the role of Non-aligned Movement more irrelevant, despite its presence in the UN General Assembly which is dominated by the big powers. The rivalries among the members of the movement between India and Pakistan, Iran and Iraq, Israel and Lebanon and issues of Afghanistan, Kampuchea (Combodia) and other countries remain constant changes to the movement.
The gap between rich and the poor, the regional conflicts, economic and cultural exploitation among the Third World countries pose a direct threat to the movement. There is lack of strong leadership in the movement, a major flow in the movement. There is unmistakable dichotomy between what the NAM leaders preach and what they practice. There have been more than 150 conflicts within the Non-aligned world community during the last 50 years. The movement, however, was unable to play decisive part in solving the disputes. With the changing situations of the World, the Non-Alignment Movement requires major reorganisation and reorientation.
The movement will be required to concentrate on protecting and preserving the interests of its member countries. It should stress on an early North-South dialogue based on genuine interdependence, mutuality of interest and benefits of shared responsibility in such crucial areas as development, finance, money, trade, science, technology and environment. Only a relentless struggle against exploitation, hunger, poverty and disease may justify it relevance.