India calls for reinventing NAM

Ahead of PM's Havana visit to attend the NAM summit, India calls for revitalising the body to meet global challenges.

india Updated: Sep 12, 2006 14:25 IST

Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Havana next week, India on Friday called for "reinventing and revitalising" the NAM "to promote solutions to important global challenges" like terrorism, development and a dialogue among civilisations.

"This will be a historic occasion for transforming the role of the NAM. A lot can be done by energising the movement," Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said in the capital.

"It's a historic summit. The summit returns to Cuba after 26 years. Cuban President Fidel Castro may attend the inaugural session Sept 15," Saran added.

The final document at the end of the summit, will focus on a range of issues like the UN reforms, the situation in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, global trade negotiations and eradication of epidemics like AIDS, Saran said.

The 116 countries, which are attending the summit will be discussing the "purposes and principles and the role of NAM in the new international order."

Despite criticism of the NAM as a movement belonging to Cold War era that has lost its relevance in the uni-polar world, India believes it continues to be a forum that has representations from developing countries from all over the world and, therefore, could be a powerful voice of moderation and balance on the global stage.

"We should capitalize on the collective strength of the movement," Saran said.
India and Cuba, along with Egypt, were among founder members of the NAM.

The NAM could be a vehicle for cross-cultural dialogue in the age of terrorism and racial profiling, Saran suggested.

"We are entering into another era of global divide, the clash of civilisations and the confrontation of Islam. We, a multi-cultural and multi-lingual country, should promote a confluence of civilisations. We should promote that sense of confluence and dialogue among cultures," Saran said.

First Published: Sep 08, 2006 22:44 IST