The Non - Aligned movement emerged in the 1960s during the cold war between USA and former Soviet union (1949 - 89) Although originally used by poorer states, the non aligned movement was enriched by members of oil producing countries. NAM consists of 113 members; hold more than half the world's population and 85 of oil resources, but only 7 of global GDP (1995). Non - alignment is not a doctrine. It is not a dogma. It is a process. It is a way of looking at issues in a particular way. It is a need, not a creed. It is against hegemony, against formation of blocs by the powerful nations.
During the Cold War, between the former USSR and Eastern Europe on the one hand and the USA and Western Europe on the other, the world divided into two power blocs. However, during the 1960s a third bloc, the nonaligned movement emerged. It includes countries that had gained independence from the European empires in the period after World War II. The NAM tried to act as a stabilizing force between the two - superpower blocs. It provided its members a more powerful voice through unity. The origins of the movement lay in the 1955 Bandung Conference, Indonesia, at which Asian and African States met to find common ground and agreement for future co - operation, and proclaimed anti colonialism and neutrality between East and West power blocs. The Indian Primer Minster Jawaharlal Nehru. Ghana's Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah, Egypt's Preseident Gamal Abdel Nasser, Indionesia's President Ahmed Sukarno, and Yugoslavia's President Tito founded the movement at the Belgrade Conference, Yugoslavia, in 1961.
During the cold War, both the USA and USSR tried to influence members of the nonaligned movement and attract them into their respective blocs. Monetary aid was given to development projects, such as the Soviet funding of Egypt's Aswan High Dam project during the 1960s. The nonaligned movement was not a strongly unified group like the north Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or Warsaw Pact. Members of NAM were weaker economically and militarily than the superpower blocs. Therefore, although its members were able to increase their status through unity and cooperative voting in the UN General Assembly, they were never able to challenge the dominance of the two superpowers. After the cold war membership of the nonaligned movement grew from 25 states in 1961 to 113 members and 17 observer states in 2000. The movement's members are drawn from Asia, Africa, South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East, Malta. Yugoslavia is the only European members of the nonaligned movement. Conferences are held every three years. The movement has no permanent secretariat. With the end of the cold war, the major issue promoted by the movement have been international action against poverty, environmental destruction, nuclear testing, and drug trafficking.
The Cold war had ended but peace in the world is still threatened by forces of extremism, discord, aggressive nationalism, and terrorism and large stocks of weapons of mass destruction. Besides the dynamics of globalisation have produced a whole set of new problems which the Non - aligned Movement must address in coming years. Therefore, NAM is relevant in the contemporary international world political and economic order.
While the developing world is largely supportive of mutually beneficial global integration, it has major concerns that are not being addressed in the (new) global agenda.
These are equitable balance between rights and obligations of investors, particularly multi - national corporations (MNC's), extra - territorial application of domestic laws, intrusive and calculated invoking of human rights, and conditionality of environmental protection and preservation and opening up of national economies tied to grant of aid and trade concessions. Non - aligned countries are increasingly exposed to pressures to conform to an agenda that is being defined and driven by others particularly the G - 8 nations. NAM relevance lies in providing the ideal forum to oppose,
1. Disregarding the U.N. and diluting the authority of the Security Council by ignoring or simply by passing it.
2. To curtail the hegemonic tendencies on the part of 'rogue states', and
3. To slow down economic and social development of Third World nations.
India should take the lead and revitalize NAM, give it direction, coherence, and efficiency. To accelerate the process of revitalization, NAM should devote 'more time and effort to promote cooperation among member - countries both in the economic and political fields.' There is 'renewed interest' among developing Countries in NAM. The fact that we are living in a unipolar world and the increasing unilateralism being shown by certain countries in world affairs should make NAM countries more united. There have been attempts by a group of countries to portray NAM as irrelevant and outdated. NAM is now even more relevant in the context of new international political order.