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Virtual NAM Summit

  • 05 May 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

The virtual Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Contact Group Summit on “United against Covid-19” through video conferencing was held recently.

  • The meeting was convened at the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, in his capacity as chair of the Non Aligned Movement.
  • Moreover 30 Heads of State and other leaders had joined the Summit. The Summit was also addressed by the UN General Assembly president and World Health Organisation (WHO) chief.
  • It was the first time that Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in a NAM Summit since he assumed the office in 2014.
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to skip the NAM Summit in 2016 and in 2019.

Key Points

  • Adoption of the Declaration:
    • The Summit adopted a Declaration underlining the importance of international solidarity in the fight against Covid-19.
  • Creation of Task Force:
    • It also announced the creation of a ‘Task Force’ to identify needs and requirements of member States.
    • A common database reflecting counties’ basic medical, social and humanitarian needs in the fight against Covid-19 will be created.

India’s Stand at the Summit

  • India’s Role in Fight Against Covid-19:
    • India is regarded as the pharmacy of the world especially for affordable medicines.
    • Despite its own needs during Covid-19 pandemic, it has ensured supply of medicines to 123 partner countries including 59 NAM members.
    • India is also active in global efforts to develop remedies and vaccines for Covid-19.
  • Need for the New Template of Globalisation:
    • India stated that Covid-19 has shown limitations of the existing international system. The world needs more representative international institutions and thus world order should be more representative.
    • Thus, in the post-Covid world, a new template of globalisation, based on fairness, equality, and humanity is needed.
  • International Cooperation:
    • NAM should call upon the international community and the WHO to focus on building health-capacity in developing countries.
    • World needs to ensure equitable, affordable and timely access to health products and technologies for all.
  • Other Issues:
    • India also flagged the issues of “terrorism” and “fake news”, calling them “deadly viruses” at a time when the world fights the novel coronavirus.
    • The above issues divide communities and countries creating difficult situations.

Non-Aligned 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.
  • The Non-Aligned Movement was founded and held its first conference (the Belgrade Conference) in 1961 under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Sukarno of Indonesia.
  • NAM does not have a formal constitution or permanent secretariat, and its administration is non-hierarchical and rotational. Decisions are made by consensus, which requires substantial agreement, but not unanimity.
  • It has 120 members as of April 2018 comprising 53 countries from Africa, 39 from Asia, 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 2 from Europe (Belarus, Azerbaijan). There are 17 countries and 10 international organizations that are Observers at NAM.
  • The purpose of the organization was enumerated in the Havana Declaration of 1979 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 subjugation.


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