By: Sudhanshu Tripathi. Ph.D
Non-aligned movement’s (NAM) summit in Tehran has, once again, proved beyond doubt to the whole world, particularly America and other the other western countries that the collective voice of majority of nations, mostly colonies of present day Europe and America during colonial era of the past century or even before and presently undeveloped, underdeveloped or least developed countries grouped as Third world, cannot be overlooked or suppressed for long. Of course, as the age-old saying goes, vox populi is vox deity – the voice of people is the voice of God. It ought to be honoured as there is no way out. What was very much noticeable for this summit was the choice of its venue, Tehran, the capital of Iran as it has been under close American scanner, ever since the U.S. stepped up its pressure by threatening and imposing extremely harsh sanctions against Iran in past few years or so due to its continuing nuclear programme. As a consequence, the relations between both of them have been passing through a very rugged and tough terrain since then. Also, the ongoing turmoil in Syria having a friendly Assad regime for Iran provided an added significance to the summit, instead of creating deep divisions and mutual bickering among member states over Syria as America wanted it to be so. Unfortunately, all these and the ongoing efforts by the U.S. to isolate Iran went pathetically futile as Iran has emerged quite confident and assertive since the end of this summit.
Further, Iran went full steam in its mission to make the summit a grand success by not only bringing together under one roof, the entire Arab world including its one time staunch rival Egypt whose first democratically elected President Mohammad Morsi along with Saudi Arabia and Gulf states also attended the event, but also the whole membership of the movement. Thus, Iran’s largest international conference since past several years drew a full house despite the U.S. and Israeli pressures even upon the United Nations Secretary General, Ban-Ki Moon, for not doing so. In fact, Iran did succeed playing tough and independent as regards its foreign policy orientations because it came out boldly shining better than it had in the past, particularly, in the context of Israel’s probable military misadventure against it. This was clearly reflected in President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s attitude in the Summit who ignored Mr. Moon’s advice to comply with the U.N. demands or face isolation or President Morsey’s criticism of Assad regime describing it as an “occupation” of Syria. Also, while the world including the NAM’s member nations do hold different positions on the question of effecting regime change in Syria or how to deal with rebels there, the Summit, however, did not relent with its stand of firm commitment to ensure just and equitable ‘global governance’ characterised by an international order more representative than the existing composition Security Council.
Thus, once dismissed by the U.S. and the West as a Cold War relic, irrelevant or utter non-sense-again since the end of the Cold War in the, consequent, unipolar world, the Tehran’s NAM summit succeeded in attracting more interest than in recent past, not only among members of the NAM but all around the world- as it used to do so during its hey days during 1960s, 70s or onwards till the end of the Cold War in 1989.
As regards India, as a founder member of NAM, the summit offered a global platform to highlight its principled position to stand against all forms of unjust and arrogant behaviours being practiced by powerful nations against small ones. Hence, its Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, while differing with the U.S. position, categorically asserted that any kind of external intervention in Syria would cause more complications and problems than its peaceful resolution which is possible only from within. That is why, India abstained from the U.N. General Assembly’s resolution favouring Arab League’s demand for regime change in Syria. India again boldly expressed its independence of action as regards its relations with Iran in the particular context of the rising American threats against countries buying oil and gas from Iran. The summit brought the two leaders close enough to deliberate on important global and regional issues besides bilateral issues with a view to further enhance economic cooperation. Expressing magnanimity towards India, Iran reiterated to facilitate the Chabar route for India-Afghan trade. Indeed, all these developments, besides few reservations shown by Egypt or others, are no mean accomplishments for such a broad-based, heterogeneous and truly ‘global movement of humanity’, as the Late Indian P.M. Smt. Indira Gandhi commented in 1983, while concluding the Seventh NAM summit in New Delhi. Obviously, the NAM has reaffirmed its vigour and vitality and also vision.
About the author: Dr. Sudhanshu Tripathi is an Associate Professor of Political Science based in India. Click here to mail him.