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What is Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)?

11-MAR-2016 19:06

    The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was established by the newly independent States who came from the colonial system after prolonged struggle. During the early days of the Movement, its actions were a key factor in the decolonization process, which later led to the attainment of freedom and independence by many countries and people and also led to the foundation of tens new sovereign States.


    Historical Background

    After World War II, two superpowers emerged, the US and the former USSR. At the same time, imperialism was on the wane and the nations were gaining independence in Asia and Africa. The superpowers sought to win over as many small independent nations as possible. This led to a cold war between the former USSR, which led the socialist countries, and the USA, which posed as the leader of free democracies.

    India decided in the circumstances not to commit itself to any big power. At this juncture, at the Asian Relations Conference in March 1957, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru put forth the novel concept of non alignment for the common aspirations of the newly liberated countries of Asia and Africa. According to him:  'For too long, we, the people of Asia, have been petitioner in western courts and chancelleries. That story must now belong to the past. We propose to stand on our own feet.  We do not intend to be playthings of others.' Hence in order to maintain the freedom of India and other independent nations, the concept of the NAM was evolved.

    Founder Members of NAM

    The credit of evolving the concept goes to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The other contributors were:

    • Marshal Tito-President of Yugoslavia
    • Dr Sukarno-President of Indonesia
    • G. A. Nasser-President of Egypt

    During formation of NAM, two conferences are very important which are given below:

    • Bandung Conference: A conference of the like-minded countries was held in April 1955 in Indonesia (Bandung). It became the forum for the birth of the NAM.
    • Brioni Conference:  The principles adopted at the Bandung Conference were given a practical shape at Brioni Yugoslavia) in July 1956, in an informal meeting between the three leaders, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Marshall Tito Col. Nasser.       

    Basic Principles of the NAM

    The principles adopted at the Bandung Conference and led at the first summit meeting were:

    • Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty
    • Mutual non-aggression
    • Mutual non-interference in each other's affairs
    • Equality and mutual benefit
    • Peaceful co-existence

    Later these principles are collectively known as Panchsheel and are the basic guidelines for the functioning the NAM.

    NAM Conferences




    Number of Countries participated


    September 1961

    Belgrade (Yugoslavia)



    October 1964

    Cairo (Egypt)



    September 1964

    Lusaka (Zambia)



    September 1973

    Algiers (Algeria)



    August 1976

    Colombo (Sri Lanka)



    September 1979

    Havana (Cuba)



    March 1983

    New Delhi (India)



    September 1986

    Harare (Zimbabwe)



    September 1989

    Belgrade (Yugoslavia)



    September 1992

    Jakarta (Indonesia)



    October 1995




    September 1998

    Durban (South Africa)



    September 2003

    Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)



    September 2006

    Havana (Zimbabwe)



    July 2009

    Sham EI Sheikh    (Egypt)



    August 2012

    Tehran (Iran)




    Caracas (Venezuela)


    Organizational Structure and Membership

    There are 10 'Bandung Principles' that the candidate country has to follow to attain membership of NAM. These are listed here under.

    • Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
    • Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
    • Recognition of the movements for national independence.
    • Recognition of the equality of all races and of the equality of all nations, large and small.
    • Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
    • Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations,
    • Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
    • Settlement of all international disputes by peaceful means, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
    • Promotion of mutual interests and co-operation.
    • Respect for justice and international obligations.

    Hence, more or less the requirements for membership of the NAM coincide with key beliefs of the United Nations.

    DISCLAIMER: JPL and its affiliates shall have no liability for any views, thoughts and comments expressed on this article.

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