Some people are busy spreading deadly viruses like terrorism amid COVID-19: PM Modi at NAM Summit

PM Modi at NAM summit: Despite our own needs, India has ensured medical supplies to over 123 partner countries, including 59 members of NAM.

May 5, 2020 16:59 IST
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a significant move, attended the virtual Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, which was convened on May 4, 2020 at the initiative of the current chair of NAM, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan. 

The online summit has held primarily to enhance coordination among the member states and discuss ways to jointly fight against the coronavirus pandemic. This was the first time that PM Narendra Modi attended the NAM summit since taking oath as India’s Prime Minister in 2014.

PM Modi’s address at NAM summit: Key Highlights

Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his address at the NAM summit by thanking Azerbaija’s President Ilham Aliyev for organising the virtual conference. He also conveyed his condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones to COVID-19.

PM Modi stated that humanity today faces its most serious crisis in many decades. He said that at this time, the non-aligned movement can help promote global solidarity. 

The Prime Minister highlighted how NAM has often been the world’s moral voice and to retain this role, he said that NAM must remain inclusive. He further noted that India accounts for 1/6th of the world’s humanity and India is a developing country and a free society. 

PM Modi highlighted that during this time, India has shown how democracy, discipline and decisiveness can come together to create a genuine people’s movement.” He said that India’s civilization sees the whole world as one family, as we care for our own citizens and are also extending help to other countries. 

PM Modi pointed out that in order to counter COVID-19, India has promoted coordination in its immediate neighbourhood and is organising online training to share its medical expertise with many others. 

He further stated that India is regarded as a pharmacy of the world, especially for affordable medicines. “Despite our own needs, we have ensured medical supplies to 123 partner countries including 59 members of NAM,” PM said.

He further stated that India is active in its global efforts to develop remedies and vaccines. He pointed out India has the world’s oldest plant-based traditional medicine system. The nation has freely shared simple ayurvedic home remedies to help people boost their natural immunity. 

Further, the Prime Minister brought to light how as the world fights covid-19, some people are busy spreading other deadly viruses such as terrorism, such as fake news and doctored videos to divide communities and countries.

PM Modi, however, reiterated that he wants to focus only on the positives on what we as a movement can do together to help the world to fight this health crisis.

He further highlighted how COVID-19 has shown us the limitations of the existing international system. He emphasised that the world would need a new template of globalization based on fairness equality and humanity in the post-COVID-19 world. 

Lastly, PM Modi spoke about the need to have international institutions that are more representative of today’s world. He stated that the world needs to promote human welfare and not focus on economic growth alone.

The Prime Minister said that equitable, affordable and timely access to health products and technology for all was the need of the hour.

Significance

The Prime Minister’s decision to attend and address the virtual NAM summit on COVID-19 is significant, as he has avoided attending the NAM summits since he took office in 2014. PM Modi had become the first full-time Indian Prime Minister to skip the NAM summit in 2016. He also skipped the 2019 NAM summit, a decision which hinted towards India’s shift from the non-alignment movement to multi-alignment.

Hence, his current participation in the group has led to speculations over whether this marks a huge shift in India’s foreign policy in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. PM Modi has repeatedly highlighted the significance of international cooperation to tackle the pandemic. India is one of the leading founding members of the grouping. 

Virtual NAM Summit 2020: Highlights 

The virtual NAM summit titled "United Against Covid-19" was chaired by the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, who is the current NAM chairman. 

PM Modi attended the summit along with 30 other Heads of State and other leaders from member States in Europe, Asia, Africa, teh Caribbean and Latin America. 

The Summit also saw participation by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, UN General Assembly President Prof Tijjani Muhammed Bande, WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, African Union Chairperson Musa Faki Mahamat and EU High Representative, Josep Borrell.

The NAM leaders jointly assessed the COVID-19 impact, identified the needs for possible remedies and urged action-oriented follow-up measures. 

At the end of the summit, the leaders adopted a Declaration that underlined the importance of international solidarity in the battle against COVID-19. 

The leaders also announced the formation of a task force to identify the requirements of the member States by establishing a common database, which reflects their basic medical, humanitarian and social needs amid coronavirus pandemic. 

What is NAM?

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) represents the largest grouping of countries outside the United Nations that are not officially aligned to any major power bloc. The NAM comprises 120 developing nations from Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The NAM was established in 1961 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia on the initiative of three world leaders- the then Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru, Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito and Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser. 

The movement was established based on the principles agreed at the Bandung Conference in 1955 with the aim to stay non-aligned to any superpowers, especially during the Cold War. Two power blocs were forming during that time-NATO led by the United States and Warsaw led by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). 

The Non-Aligned Movement member countries represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations' members and contain 55 percent of the world’s population. Most of the member countries are developing nations or a part of the third world. It also has some developed nations. 

Despite being a part of the grouping, many NAM members have actually been closely aligned with one or the other superpowers, including India. 

 

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