The Non-Aligned Movement has been criticised as “an extension of the Cold War”. FRANCE 24 discusses the forum's relevance with Saurabh Joshi, editor of Stratpost.com, a website on strategic and defence affairs in South Asia.
FRANCE 24: The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) was founded as a response to Cold War-era alliances – did it have any success?
Saurabh Joshi: Yes, to the extent that the developing world did get a platform of its own, where it could put its own agenda on the table.
But NAM was pretty much another forum to stage the Cold War, wasn’t it? In the sense that while most countries in NAM openly professed to its ideals, they were in one bloc or the other. Take India for example – it's open to debate, but because the US was with Pakistan, India went with the Soviets…Take Egypt after 1973, it changed to the US side…it was an extension of the Cold War, really.
FRANCE 24: So after the collapse of the Soviet Union, does the movement still have any relevance?
S.J.: Let me start with India [one of the three countries to start the movement]. For India, NAM has a changed relevance. This is the only platform developing countries have to themselves. Within it there are countries with untapped resources, in Africa, in Asia, that form symbiotic relationships in trade and development.
Countries like China don’t need a forum like NAM, because their diplomatic machinery is far larger than India. They don’t need to get their hands dirty. But smaller resource-rich countries can benefit from the opportunity that NAM provides as a forum to establish trade relations.
FRANCE 24: The India-Pakistan meeting appears to have grabbed the spotlight, turning it away from the NAM summit itself – do you think there will be any progress on this issue at Sharm-el-Sheikh?
S.J.:I doubt if something will come of it. In the South Block and the North Block [India’s government headquarters in New Delhi], the general view is that a lot more has to be done by Pakistan.
There may be a joint statement that will be simply a repetition of diplomatic-speak. But this is what India will be telling Pakistan – you need to be doing a lot more. This meeting will be to formally drive home the message.
Date created : 2009-07-15