Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the relevance of the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM has) "never been greater than today" and called for greater solidarity among members in tackling global challenges, including the financial crisis, energy security, climate change and the UN reforms.
"History has shown that non-alignment is an idea that evolves but does not fade. We must take it forward, harnessing it to meet the challenges of today," Manmohan Singh said on the opening day of the 15th NAM summit that is attended by 118 leaders from developing countries.
Invoking the words of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru at the first NAM conference in 1961, Manmohan Singh said: "The power of nations assembled here is not military power or economic power, nevertheless it is power."
Nehru, along with Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Marshal Tito of then Yugsoslavia, were prime movers in shaping the NAM, founded at the 1955 Bandung conference.
Underlining the importance of NAM in addressing contemporary global problems, Manmohan Singh said the 15th NAM summit was being held amid the world's worst economic crisis in living memory.
The NAM has "a great stake in ensuring that steps planned to revive the global economy take into account the concerns of developing countries," he said.
"These include the challenges of food security, energy security, the environment and the reform of institutions of global governance," he said.
Manmohan Singh's reiteration of faith in NAM, which proudly flaunted equidistance from the Cold War superpowers, the US and the then USSR, has lost its relevance in today's unipolar world
He also made a strong pitch for reforms of global bodies, saying developing countries must be "fully represented in the decision-making levels of international institutions."