People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 37

September 10, 2006





Restore NAM To Its Old Glory


THE 14th summit of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) will take place in Havana, the capital city of Socialist Cuba, on September 15 and 16. However, from September 11 onwards, the foreign ministers of the 116-member countries would be in session to finalise the draft declaration to be presented to the summit. High expectations have been aroused amongst the progressive peace-loving people all over the world on this “Havana declaration”. Such expectations are based both on the current political situation in the world dominated by imperialist aggression and the fact that this summit is being held in Cuba which has courageously remained in the forefront of imperialism’s firing line. It has successfully foiled all imperialist attempts of subversion and remains a vibrant socialist society and State.


The NAM was founded in 1961 at its inaugural summit in Belgrade, capital of former Yugoslavia with 25 founding members. India’s Nehru, Egypt’s Nasser and Yugoslavia’s Tito were the main inspiration in the post-decolonised world to establish this forum as a platform of solidarity amongst the newly independent countries. With a steady increase in its membership, NAM emerged as a powerful international forum mobilising world opinion in completing the process of decolonisation and in seeking solutions for the hangovers of the colonial world such as the Palestinian question, South Africa’s apartheid etc. 


During the bipolarity of the Cold War period, the NAM was mistakenly viewed by a section as a forum whose main object was to bargain between the two poles –– the USA and the USSR. Such vulgar mechanical interpretation of NAM’s objectives was often put at rest by the declarations of successive NAM summits. The movement unequivocally declared that it stands for the unity of the countries of the developing world in defence of their political and economic sovereignty and their choice of the political system that they would practice in their respective countries. In short, NAM emerged as a movement defending the rights of the developing countries against any effort to pressurise, intimidate or browbeat them into accepting any diktat of powerful nations. As Indira Gandhi once said in the past, the NAM’s essence was essentially anti-imperialist. This was when India received the chairmanship of the NAM from Cuba’s Fidel Castro in 1983.


The NAM summit is taking place in Cuba after 25 years. Whether the chairmanship will move to India once again like in the past is yet to be seen. However, given India’s leading role in the past, it is only befitting that prime minister Manmohan Singh is leading the Indian delegation at the summit. This makes it all the more contingent upon India to declare its anti-imperialist positions unequivocally before the world. This is an opportunity for the UPA government to correct its course in India’s foreign policy which has been unmistakably drifting towards succumbing to US imperialist pressures in recent times. 


This NAM summit comes at a time when the challenges facing the countries of the developing world are, indeed, immense. After the end of the Cold War bipolarity, the trend in international relations should have been towards multi-polarity. This, however, is being sabotaged and subverted by US imperialism which seeks to impose a world of uni-polarity under its hegemony. The international situation today is, thus, dominated by an imperial arrogance that disrespects and often assaults the national sovereignty of developing countries; brazen military intervention as we see in Iraq and Lebanon; unrestrained interference in the internal affairs of those independent countries that refuse to bow down to imperialist dictates or those who dare to resist imperialist pressures and the effort, utilising the process of globalisation, to economically recolonise the third world countries. The NAM needs to reassert the solidarity of the third world in facing these challenges and resisting to eventually defeat such imperialist efforts to impose its hegemony.


In this context, seeking to revitalise the NAM, the draft declaration for the summit states that the situation requires, “like never before, for our nations to remain united, firm and to shoulder a greater level of activism” in order to face these challenges. Towards this end, the draft suggests that the goals of the countries of the developing world must include, “NAM becoming an agency for political coordination, to promote and defend their common interests as well as the need to foster unity and solidarity; defence of peace and international security; cooperation based on international law; and promotion of the sustainable development of our peoples”. 


If the summit were able to achieve these objectives, then the NAM would not merely be revitalised but it is hoped that under the leadership of Cuba, it will once again play the powerful role that it once wielded in shaping the international situation on more democratic and progressive lines. It is in India’s interests that NAM needs to be strengthened and the declaration of the summit should be turned into a working agenda for all developing countries in their resistance to imperialist hegemonism.