If even a part of the dream becomes reality, it will be the mother of all trade blocs. India is preparing to propose that the 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which has been foundering in the post-Cold War era, be revived through “closer economic cooperation”.
The case is expected to be put forward by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the 14th NAM summit to be held in Havana during September 14-15.
Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), a think-tank funded by the ministry of external affairs and chaired currently by Arjun Sengupta, has been entrusted with the job of preparing the policy paper that would look into the possibilities of trade in goods, services and investment.
Dr Nagesh Kumar, director-general of RIS, told Sunday HT, “It would be premature to think of NAM as a trade bloc. But the thought would serve a purpose even if it revitalises the GSTP (Global System of Trade Preferences Among Developing Nations), a group of 45 developing countries under the UN Conference on Trade and Development, which is closely aligned with NAM.”
RIS, whose original mandate was to study South-South cooperation in general and the NAM in particular, is scheduled to put up a first draft of the paper for consultation by the middle of August.
Among the sizeable trading partners of India, Chile, Malaysia, South Korea and South Africa are NAM members, while China is an observer.