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India Statement by Secretary (West) at the NAM Ministerial Meeting

Posted on: July 06, 2023 | Back | Print

Chair, Excellencies, and colleagues, Namaste and a very good morning to you all!

I thank our host, and Chair, Azerbaijan – for their warm hospitality in this beautiful city of Baku.

2. Excellencies, the theme for this meeting - "NAM: United and Steadfast in Confronting Emerging Challenges” is timely, as we meet in the backdrop of extreme geo-political, economic and social uncertainties where ongoing global conflicts have further laid bare the frailties of the existing multilateral system.

3. NAM includes large parts of the developing world, the Global South – which has borne the collateral damages of these uncertainties and conflicts and suffered disruptions of supply chains which were not entirely of their own making. The 4Fs that matter the most to the developing world: Food, Finance, Fuel and Fertilizers – must be made available to them with certainty, transparency, and equity. As members of the NAM, it is important for us to stand by our friends in the developing world, who are in distress, grappling with existential issues.

4. On our own part, India’s ongoing Presidency of the G20 has made the concerns of the Global South placed at the forefront of the G20 Leaders Agenda. Here, I refer to the Voice of the Global South Summit convened by India early this year, where about 130 countries participated. I am happy to place on record that some of our fellow NAM members have contributed in shaping the G20 agenda, as it also features financing for climate resilience and environment sustainability, as well as digital trade connectivity and digital public infrastructure, the very themes of importance to our NAM partners.


5. I believe that for NAM to shape the global agenda, it is imperative that we remains fit for purpose and "rework our act together”. For this to come true, there are four pressing questions that we, the collectively need to introspect and answer:

One, for a movement that came together to offer an alternative world view in face of the then two major power blocks, why are we today succumbing, and are unable to stand up for our own members? The case of ASEAN not being able to make its own collective proposals on an issue of core concern to them is something that we cannot ignore. Our SOM discussions have demonstrated that we ourselves have made it easy for an external force to divide us. Let us at least reserve Public Display of Affection for our own members.

Two, our Outcome Document runs into one thousand three hundred plus paras. Will anybody other than the negotiators ever be even tempted to read it? It is said that diplomats sometimes negotiate only to keep in shape. We have taken this adage to an entirely different level. Shouldn’t our outcome documents be more succinct, more reader friendly so that our youth remains interested and invested in our movement.

Three, furthermore, at least half of our final outcome document is dated and anchored in formulations agreed decades back. Does that really make NAM – in tune with times and reflective of contemporary realities? Our rich and historical legacy should not blind side us to addressing pressing challenges of our times.

Four, established procedures of our NAM Group need to be respected and honoured. That has helped the Movement survive six decades of the Cold and post - Cold War era.

6. We therefore really look forward to the NAM House being set in order as we instill new life into the Bandung Principles. We wish Uganda’s leadership the very best as it prepares to captain our movement.

7. Excellencies, we were again witness to a blatant violation of the Bandung Principles yesterday, when our distinguished colleague from Pakistan brought a bilateral issue to the NAM agenda. It is regretful that the sanctity of our platform was again predictably demeaned. We reject their unfounded and baseless remarks. We do hope that they introspect on where they find themselves, and what has brought them there.


8. NAM has had a glorious past, but its future will be defined by how we tackle some of the defining challenges of our times, including – UNSC reforms, climate change, digital technologies, standard setting, global supply chain issues and terrorism, and most importantly whether we can return to the First Principles of NAM, which is actually being NON ALIGNED, and being able to stand by each other. I thank you.