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State PCS

Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. Discuss the importance of the Non-Alignment Movement in India’s foreign policy, in contemporary times. (250 words).

    19 May, 2020 GS Paper 2 International Relations


    Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Revival of Non-Alignment Movement


    • Introduction: Briefly explain the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM), highlighting its objective and the background of its establishment.
    • Body: Discuss the importance of the Non-Alignment Movement in India’s foreign policy under various dimensions by linking it with contemporary issues.
    • Conclusion:Summarise your answer and suggest some measures to increase the effectiveness of NAM.



    • The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) 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. India played an instrumental role in the establishment of NAM in 1961.


    For India, NAM is an important platform that is in tandem with the needs and principles of its foreign policy. It provides an opportunity for India to attain its objective and interests in the international sphere. Some of them as follows:

    • Balancing the Cold War between the US and China: In the current geopolitics, the competition between the USA and China is gradually acquiring the characteristics of the Cold war (Trade War, Indo-pacific narrative, etc).
      • India can leverage NAM in preventing the polarization of the world again.
    • Strengthening of Multipolar World Order: A multipolar world order is in concurrence with Indian foreign policy. Thus, NAM can help in the formation of a multipolar world with India becoming a major pole.
    • Countering Neo-colonialism by China: China’s investment in Africa and Asia through its Belt and Road initiative is criticized for being neo-colonialism in nature.
      • During the cold war, the NAM played an instrumental role in the decolonization project. Similarly, in present times, NAM can help India in establishing the ethos of collective action.
    • Global South Cooperation: India is widely perceived as a leader of the developing world. Thus, India’s engagement with NAM will further help in the rise of India’s stature as the voice of the developing world or global south.
      • In times of increasing protectionism, NAM can provide a platform for South-South cooperation.
    • Support for India’s Candidature in UNSC: Among 120 members of the NAM and most of them are also the members of the UN General Assembly. This could help India in garnering support for not only democratisation of the UN but also for a permanent seat in the United Nation Security Council.
    • Combating Global Issues: NAM becomes relevant to India in mobilising international public opinion against terrorism, weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), nuclear proliferation, ecological imbalance, safeguarding interests of developing countries in WTO (World Trade Organization)etc.


    • Given the relevance of NAM in present times, it remains a critical diplomatic forum for the pursuit of India’s foreign policy interests. Therefore India must refrain from treating NAM as a ritual to be performed every three years and start engaging with NAM constructively.
    • In this context, Covid-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for India to lay the foundation of NAM 2.0.

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