• Non-alignment has a broader meaning and has a distinct character. It means that a nation pursuing such a policy need not be neutral under all circumstances. It can participate actively in world affairs under exceptional circumstances. 
  • Unlike neutrality, nonalignment aims at keeping away but it keeps away not from a particular conflict or issue but from a persisting international tension like cold war.
  • The policy of not aligning with any bloc, but at the same time being friendly to everyone, so that it might be feasible to have a moderating impact on international relations, came to be popularly called as non-alignment. 

Evolution and Origin

  • The creation and strengthening of the socialist block after the defeat of fascism in World War II, the collapse of colonial empires, the emergence of a bipolar world and the formation of two military blocks (NATO and the Warsaw Pact) brought about a new international context that led to the necessity of multilateral coordination for between the countries of the South.
  • In this context, the underdeveloped countries, most of them in Asia and Africa, felt the need to join efforts for the common defense of their interests, the strengthening of their independence and sovereignty and the cultural and economic revival or salvation of their peoples, and also to express a strong commitment with peace by declaring themselves as “non-aligned” from either of the two nascent military blocks.
  • The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was created and founded during the collapse of the colonial system and the independence struggles of the peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America and other regions of the world and at the height of the Cold War.
  • During the early days of the Movement, its actions were a key factor in the decolonization process, which led later to the attainment of freedom and independence by many countries and peoples and to the founding of tens of new sovereign States. 
  • Throughout its history, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries has played a fundamental role in the preservation of world peace and security.
  • The Non-Aligned Movement is a Movement of 115 members representing the interests and priorities of developing countries. 
  • The Movement has its origin in the Asia-Africa Conference held in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955.
  • The meeting was convened upon the invitation of the Prime Ministers of Burma, Ceylon, India, Indonesia and Pakistan and brought together leaders of 29 states, mostly former colonies, from the two continents of Africa and Asia, to discuss common concerns and to develop joint policies in international relations.
  • Prime Minister Nehru, the acknowledged senior statesman, along with Prime Ministers Soekarno and Nasser, led the conference.
  • At the meeting Third World leaders shared their similar problems of resisting the pressures of the major powers, maintaining their independence and opposing colonialism and neo- colonialism, especially western domination.
  • Following this meeting a preparatory meeting for the First NAM Summit Conference was held in Cairo, from 5-12 June 1961.
  • Where the invitations for Bandung were on a regional basis, the invitations for the first Summit were based on each invited country’s commitment to a set of shared principles.
  • At the Cairo preparatory meeting the participants discussed in detail the principal aims and objectives of a policy of non-alignment. These were adopted as criteria for membership as well as for the invitations to the First Summit Conference. 

The criteria are the following: 

  • The country should have adopted an independent policy based on the coexistence of States with different political and social systems and on non-alignment or should be showing a trend in favour of such a policy. 
  • The country concerned should be consistently supporting the Movements for National Independence.
  • The country should not be a member of a multilateral military alliance concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts.
  • If a country has a bilateral military agreement with a Great Power, or is a member of a regional defence pact, the agreement or pact should not be one deliberately concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts.
  • If it has conceded military bases to a Foreign Power the concession should not have been made in the context of Great Power conflicts.
  • The above criteria and principles of NAM, adopted at the Cairo preparatory meeting, have been reaffirmed by the Heads of State or Government during the XI Summit in Cartagena.
  • The first Conference of Non-Aligned Heads of State or Government, at which 25 countries were represented, was convened at Belgrade in September 1961, largely through the initiative of Yugoslavian President Tito. At that stage his biggest concern was that an accelerating arms race might result in war between the Soviet Union and the USA. 

The Ten principles of Bandung

  1. Respect of fundamental human rights and of the objectives and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. 
  2. Respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
  3. Recognition of the equality among all races and of the equality among all nations, both large and small. 
  4. Non-intervention or non-interference into the internal affairs of another -country. 
  5. Respect of the right of every nation to defend itself, either individually or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  6. A. Non-use of collective defense pacts to benefit the specific interests of any of the great powers. B. Non-use of pressures by any country against other countries. 
  7. Refraining from carrying out or threatening to carry out aggression, or from using force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country. 
  8. Peaceful solution of all international conflicts in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
  9. Promotion of mutual interests and of cooperation.
  10. Respect of justice and of international obligations.

Primary Objectives of the Non-aligned countries

  • The primary of objectives of the non-aligned countries focused on the support of self-determination, national independence and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States; 
  • opposition to apartheid; non-adherence to multilateral military pacts and the independence of non-aligned countries from great power or block influences and rivalries;
  • the struggle against imperialism in all its forms and manifestations; the struggle against colonialism, neocolonialism, racism, foreign occupation and domination; 
  • disarmament; non-interference into the internal affairs of States and peaceful coexistence among all nations; rejection of the use or threat of use of force in international relations; 
  • the strengthening of the United Nations; the democratization of international relations; socioeconomic development and the restructuring of the international economic system; as well as international cooperation on an equal footing. 

Role after the cold war 

  • Since the end of the Cold War and the formal end of colonialism, the Non- Aligned Movement has been forced to redefine itself and reinvent its purpose in the current world system. 
  • A major question has been whether many of its foundational ideologies, principally national independence, territorial integrity, and the struggle against colonialism and imperialism, can be applied to contemporary issues.
  • The movement has emphasized its principles of multilateralism, equality, and mutual non-aggression in attempting to become a stronger voice for the global South, and an instrument that can be utilized to promote the needs of member nations at the international level and strengthen their political leverage when negotiating with developed nations.
  • In its efforts to advance Southern interests, the movement has stressed the importance of cooperation and unity amongst member states, but as in the past, cohesion remains a problem since the size of the organisation and the divergence of agendas and allegiances present the ongoing potential for fragmentation.
  • While agreement on basic principles has been smooth, taking definitive action particular international issues has been rare, with the movement preferring to assert its criticism or support rather than pass hardline resolutions. 
  • The movement continues to see a role for itself, as in its view, the world’s- poorest nations remain exploited and marginalized, no longer by opposing superpowers, but rather in a unipolar world, and it is Western hegemony and neo-colonialism that the movement has really re-aligned itself against. 
  • It opposes foreign occupation, interference in internal affairs, and aggressive unilateral measures, but it has also shifted to focus on the socio-economic challenges facing member states, especially the inequalities manifested by globalization and the implications of neo-liberal policies.
  • The Non-Aligned Movement has identified economic underdevelopment, poverty, and social injustices as growing threats to peace and security.
  • During the 14th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Havana, Cuba in September 2006, the Heads of States and Governments of the member countries reaffirmed their commitment to the ideals, principles and purposes upon which the movement was founded and with the principles and purposes enshrined in the United Nations Charter.
  • Inspired by the principles and purposes which were brought to the Non-Aligned Movement by the Bandung principles and during the First NAM Summit in Belgrade in 1961, the Heads of States and Governments of the member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement adopted in their 14th Summit in Havana the following purposes and principles of the movement in the present International juncture. 


  • To promote and reinforce multilateralism and, in this regard, strengthen the central role that the United Nations must play.
  • To serve as a forum of political coordination of the developing countries to promote and defend their common interests in the system of international relations 
  • To promote unity, solidarity and cooperation between developing countries based on shared values and priorities agreed upon by consensus.
  • To defend international peace and security and settle all international disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the principles and the purposes of the UN Charter and International Law.
  • To encourage relations of friendship and cooperation between all nations based on the principles of International Law, particularly those enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. 
  • To promote and encourage sustainable development through international cooperation.
  • To encourage the respect, enjoyment and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, on the basis of the principles of universality, objectivity, impartiality and non-selectivity, avoiding politicization of human rights issues, thus ensuring that all human rights of individuals and peoples, including the right to development, are promoted and protected in a balanced manner. 
  • To promote peaceful coexistence between nations, regardless of their political, social or economic systems.
  • To condemn all manifestations of unilateralism and attempts to exercise hegemonic domination in international relations. 
  • To coordinate actions and strategies in order to confront jointly the threats to international peace and security, including the threats of use of force and the acts of aggression, colonialism and foreign occupation, and other breaches of peace caused by any country or group of countries.
  • To promote the strengthening and democratization of the UN, giving the General Assembly the role granted to it in accordance with the functions and powers outlined in the Charter and to promote the comprehensive reform of the United Nations Security Council so that it may fulfill the role granted to it by the Charter, in a transparent and equitable manner, as the body primarily responsible for maintaining international peace and security.
  • To continue pursuing universal and non-discriminatory nuclear disarmament, as well as a general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control and in this context, to work towards the objective of arriving at an agreement on a phased program for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons within a specified framework of time to eliminate nuclear weapons, to prohibit their development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer, use or threat of use and to provide for their destruction.
  • To oppose and condemn the categorization of countries as good or evil based on unilateral and unjustified criteria, and the adoption of a doctrine of pre-emptive attack, including attack by nuclear weapons, which is inconsistent with international law, in particular, the international legally-binding instruments concerning nuclear disarmament and to further condemn and oppose unilateral military actions, or use of force or threat of use of force against the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Non-Aligned countries. 
  • To encourage States to conclude agreements freely arrived at, among the States of the regions concerned, to establish new Nuclear Weapons- Free Zones in regions where these do not exist, in accordance with the provisions of the Final Document of the First Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament and the principles adopted by the 1999 UN Disarmament Commission, including the establishment of a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone in the Middle East.
  • The establishment of Nuclear Weapons-Free Zones is a positive step and important measure towards strengthening global nuclear disarmament and non- proliferation.
  • To promote international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to facilitate access to nuclear technology, equipment and material for peaceful purposes required by developing countries. 
  • To promote concrete initiatives of South-South cooperation and strengthen the role of NAM, in coordination with G.77, in the re- launching of North-South cooperation, ensuring the fulfillment of the right to development of our peoples, through the enhancement of international solidarity.
  • To respond to the challenges and to take advantage of the opportunities arising from globalization and interdependence with creativity and a sense of identity in order to ensure its benefits to all countries, particularly those most affected by underdevelopment and poverty, with a view to gradually reducing the abysmal gap between the developed and developing countries.
  • To enhance the role that civil society, including NGO´s, can play at the regional and international levels in order to promote the purposes, principles and objectives of the Movement. 


  • Respect for the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and International Law. 
  • Respect for sovereignty, sovereign equality and territorial integrity of all States.
  • Recognition of the equality of all races, religions, cultures and all nations, both big and small.
  • Promotion of a dialogue among peoples, civilizations, cultures and religions based on the respect of religions, their symbols and values, the promotion and the consolidation of tolerance and freedom of belief.
  • Respect for and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, including the effective implementation of the right of peoples to peace and development. 
  • Respect for the equality of rights of States, including the inalienable right of each State to determine freely its political, social, economic and cultural system, without any kind of interference whatsoever from any other State. 
  • Reaffirmation of the validity and relevance of the Movement’s principled positions concerning the right to self-determination of peoples under foreign occupation and colonial or alien domination. 
  • Non-interference in the internal affairs of States. No State or group of States has the right to intervene either directly or indirectly, whatever the motive, in the internal affairs of any other State.
  • Rejection of unconstitutional change of Governments. 
  • Rejection of attempts at regime change 
  • Condemnation of the use of mercenaries in all situations, especially in conflict situations. 
  • Refraining by all countries from exerting pressure or coercion on other countries, including resorting to aggression or other acts involving the use of direct or indirect force, and the application and/ or promotion of any coercive unilateral measure that goes against International Law or is in any way incompatible with it, for the purpose of coercing any other State to subordinate its sovereign rights, or to gain any benefit whatsoever.
  • Total rejection of aggression as a dangerous and serious breach of International Law, which entails international responsibility for the aggressor.
  • Respect for the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Condemnation of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and systematic and gross violations of human rights, in accordance with the UN Charter and International Law. 
  • Rejection of and opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, as it constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. In this context, terrorism should not be equated with the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation for self-determination and national liberation. 
  • Promotion of pacific settlement of disputes and abjuring, under any circumstances, from taking part in coalitions, agreements or any other kind of unilateral coercive initiative in violation of the principles of International Law and the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Defense and consolidation of democracy, reaffirming that democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social, and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their life. 
  • Promotion and defense of multilateralism and multilateral organizations as the appropriate frameworks to resolve, through dialogue and cooperation, the problems affecting humankind.
  • Support to efforts by countries suffering internal conflicts to achieve peace, justice, equality and development.
  • The duty of each State to fully and in good faith comply with the international treaties, to which it is a party, as well as to honor the commitments made in the framework of international organizations, and to live in peace with other States. v. Peaceful settlement of all international conflicts in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
  • Defense and promotion of shared interests, justice and cooperation, regardless of the differences existing in the political, economic and social systems of the States, on the basis of mutual respect and the equality of rights. 
  • Solidarity as a fundamental component of relations among nations in all circumstances.
  • Respect for the political, economic, social and cultural diversity of countries and peoples.
  • The movement has succeeded to create a strong front on the International level, representing countries of the third world in the International organizations on top of which the United Nations.
  • Current Challenges facing the NAM include the necessity of protecting the principles of International law, eliminating weapons of mass destruction, combating terrorism, defending human rights, working toward making the United Nations more effective in meeting the needs of all its member states in order to preserve International Peace, Security and Stability, as well as realizing justice in the international economic system.
  • On the other hand, the long-standing goals of the Movement remain to be realized. Peace, development, economic cooperation and the democratization of international relations, to mention just a few, are old goals of the non-aligned countries.

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