Nehru’s Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) doctrine appeals to India
Representatives of twenty-five countries and three observer nations gathered in the city of Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia now Serbia for the Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement on the first day of September 1961. India was led by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who together with his counterparts Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito, Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah, Indonesian President Sukarno and Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser founded the Movement of non-aligned countries. After the end of the Second World War and the beginning of the Cold War, the pushed countries were forced to take sides between the grouping led by the United States (Western bloc) or the formation led by the Soviet Union (eastern bloc). A handful of countries caught between the two world power blocs and unwilling to side with one or the other formed a new non-aligned group.
This formation has helped India to be equidistant from the power games played by the superpowers while taking advantage of both sides for its own needs in agriculture, education, military and grain. food. The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union shattered the basic concept of NAM as the United States of America became the sole superpower after 1991. As India began to become more autonomous, it still needed both powers to invest in the future of the country. Although the United States had been skeptical of India from the start, the Soviet Union proved to be a strong supporter of India. Nehru and later Indira Gandhi cultivated a special relationship with the Soviet Union which helped India strategically. The tactical collaboration with the Soviet Union during the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971 cannot be forgotten. After the end of the Soviet Union, Russia continued its warm relations with India, although it expressed concern about India’s growing partnership with the United States. Russia watched as a trusted friend from the sidelines as the United States signed the nuclear deal with India in 2008 as Russia became one of India’s biggest arms suppliers. The arrival of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin on the world stage has continued India’s partnership with Russia and has never hampered India’s dialogues with successive Presidents of the United States, whether ‘Obama, Trump or Biden.
Russia’s expansionism into the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 was recognized by the then Manmohan Singh government and became the first Asian power to do so. Cut to 2022, India is in deep trouble with Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. India has abstained from voting for 3 UN resolutions so far, effectively supporting Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. Being the largest democracy in the world, India has so far refused to condemn Russia for its illegal adventure. India’s tightrope walk to please Russia is becoming unsustainable day by day as women, children and innocent citizens continue to be slaughtered by Russia. However, siding with the United States will only anger Russia, which finds itself with very few friends in the world. Abstaining from UN-sponsored resolutions against Russia was the only way to maintain the balance of relations with the United States, Russia and Europe (the United States, the United Kingdom and the EU might not be very happy with India’s position on Ukraine). India needs Russia’s support against its dual threat from China and Pakistan and it hopes to benefit from the Ukrainian spoils of war by leveraging its support for Russia at a later date. It should be noted that Pakistan and China also abstained from voting against Russia, thereby neutralizing any benefits that India might claim. Russia’s unwavering support for India’s position on Kashmir remains ambiguous for the time being. China is closely watching the Russian invasion and the reaction of other countries to the Russian invasion as it has its sinister plans in Taiwan, the South China Sea, Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh.
The fundamental principles of the Nehru Non-Aligned Movement again call on India to remain independent, not aligned with any established or emerging superpower, but to be friendly with all countries that return friendship. Unilateral alignment with either world power will only be counterproductive for India since superpowers tend to manipulate for their own interest. What was held in 1961, remains valid for 2022 with the same force. India can now see the benefits of Nehru’s non-aligned policies.
As India recovers from demonetization, rising unemployment, growing income disparity and Covid-19 poverty, it will need all friendly superpowers to collaborate in science, technology information, military, agriculture, nuclear technology, etc. US, UK, EU and Russia have their respective expertise in helping India become a $10 trillion economy. Taking sides will only hinder the milestones that India has set for itself.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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