Question- “Non-Aligned Movement was not an idealistic proposition by Nehru but had real value to the country.” Comment.
After the second world war, the world was divided into two hostile blocks. One was led by the USA and the other by USSR. Both blocks were at ideological wars and wanted to enlarge their sphere of influence. The Non-aligned movement arose from the desire of Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders of the newly independent countries of the third world to guard their independence.
Salient features of Non-aligned movement–
• To ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries”.
• To fight against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, and racism.
• To resist all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics, Many critiqued that Non-aligned movement was idealistic on the part of India. They argued that India could have gained more by aligning with the USA in fighting poverty and becoming a regional power. However such arguments ignore the very realpolitik interests of India.
• The needs of newly independent countries were to fight poverty, diseases, and illiteracy which could not be solved by joining military blocks.
• Joining any block would have meant surrendering the freedom and sovereignty so hard-earned by the country.
And it was not just guarding of interests but non-aligned movement helped in achieving the realpolitik milestones as well.
• In the UN, one country one vote enabled Non aligned block to check domination by western block.
• By not tying with either block, India developed economic ties with both blocks and thus got capital, technologies, machines, and food from the western countries.
• Got USSR support in the building of Public sector industries which the USA was reluctant to support.
• For military equipment, India got help from across the ideological divide.
• Toofani aircraft from France, MiG helicopters from USSR, Gnat interceptor aircraft from the UK, etc.
• Variety of sources ensured that excessive dependence on any one country was avoided and better bargains could be driven.
• India maintained the active membership of various UN bodies as well as of IMF and world bank. (India has been the biggest recipient of concessional funding in absolute terms from multilateral agencies).
• In the 1960s, USSR emerged as the largest arms supplier to India. At the same time, India got the USA‘s assistance in the Green revolution. It was a major achievement of our Non-aligned movement.
The multipolar world is far from acting in accordance with universal peace. It demands the proactive role of NAM countries to come together.
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