IAS Exam Essay 2017:Relevance of Non-Alignment Movement (NAM)

The countries of the Non-Aligned Movement represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations' members and contain 55% of the world population. But the relevance of NAM is diluting as the world is becoming multipolar and geoeconomic interests are overpowering the geostrategic interests. Here, we are providing an outline of the relevance of NAM in today's multipolar world as asked recently in the IAS Exam Essay paper 2017.

Nov 8, 2017, 16:34 IST
Non Aligned movement official Logo
Non Aligned movement official Logo

The Essay paper of IAS Mains exam 2017 was divided into two sections containing four topics in each section and the candidates have to attempt one topic from each section. As every year, this year also there was a question on international relations and foreign policy India. This year the topic was on the relevance of Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) in present times which was not a surprise for the students as NAM was much in the news and the latest NAM summit 2016 was held in Venezuela.

IAS Mains Exam 2017: Essay Paper

In the following article, we have tried to provide a blueprint for the essay and how the student should approach such topics which can be helpful for the students targeting the IAS Exam 2018.

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


Multipolarity is the new reality of the current world order. “Economy equals empire” is the right slogan for the globalised continents. The pace of economic growth is dissolving the political boundaries created due to ideological blocs of the post-war period. Non-alignment Movement was one of the outcomes of post-war decolonisation where the newly established states tried to uphold their identities in the aftermath of ideological war taken up by the superpower states. But change is the law of nature and as new ideas take shape of invention so does the global mindset. Now the question to ask is that in the world where information travels faster than man, can non-alignment or isolation can still be a dimension?

BODY: Major sub-headings and correlations that should be included in the essay are as follows:

On what Principles does NAM works?

• Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty

• Mutual non-aggression

• Mutual non-interference in domestic affairs

• Equality and mutual benefit

• Peaceful co-existence

Why was NAM formed?

NAM founded during the height of Soviet-Us confrontation in the mid-1950's. Its political bearing has diminished in the post-cold war environment with the disintegration of USSR but NAM is still relevant in today's international environment.

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Major causes for the formation of NAM:

•End of Second World War
•Fear of colonialism and imperialism
•Cultural and racial aspects
•Nationalist feeling
•Military alliance

The relevance of NAM today:

Now the present world scenario is in a slow but steady pace. Uni-polar is slowly shifting to the multi-polar world and eager to look into the matter of global economic issues. Even G20 realized that they cannot withstand without developing nations in this phase of the acute crisis.

The relevance of NAM can be traced from the following points-

•Preservation of the world peace
•Check on big power ambitions
•Preservation of territorial integrity and sovereignty
•Platform of Third World nations
•Promoting equitable world order

How can NAM be strengthened:

1.Remodelling the principles according to the multifaceted economic world

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2.India as Leader of NAM and Present contributions of NAM to the world

•Base of South-South co-operation
•Integral part of foreign policy
•Peaceful settlement of International disputes
•Cultural diversity and human rights
•Sustainable development

3.Emergence of new organisations or power blocs like G20, ASEAN, SCO, EU and WTO has diluted the decisive role of NAM

4.New World Order and globalisation and changing realm of the political debates to environmentalism, climate change and terrorism.


All the organisations formulated after the wars had world peace at its core be it the regional groups like OPEC or EU or the United Nations itself but now we live in changing times and we have the more global chronic problem like terrorism, climate change, and global warming and Cyberwars to deal with holistically. In today’s scenario, we have international laws to maintain order in the world and hence maybe we don’t need groupings like NAM but having said that we should also consider the stand of the developing or be transitioning economies of the globe where NAM serves as a founding body for many significant decisions.

As the superpowers are realising the strength and resource-rich environment of the developing world, it is becoming clearer each day that the world is correlated, economies are co-dependent and every significant decision by any country has a ripple effect on the global logistics. So NAM a non-aligned system can play a big role in controlling and changing the present international environment. Moreover, NAM is providing India with an untapped advantage to emerge as a world leader, especially in the south-east Asia.

With the passage of time, NAM emerged as a political personality of its own. Moreover, it survived the cold war and out-living it. India should play a major role in reformulating the working of NAM so that it can also act as an instrument of change giving voice to the least developed states and the transitioning economies.

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