Commemoration of 60th anniversary of Bandung conference

In April, 1955, representatives from twenty-nine governments of Asian and African nations gathered in Bandung, Indonesia to discuss peace and the role of the Third World in the Cold War era, economic development, and decolonization. A conference that involved five sponsoring countries (Burma, Ceylon, India, Indonesia and Pakistan) and 24 participating countries from Asia and Africa was convened in Bandung. The Bandung Conference turned out to be a historic watershed in the international relations of those countries.
The conference was hosted in Bandung, Indonesia by President Sukarno, in April 1955, and included delegates from 25 countries representing more than one-half of the world’s population. Bandung spawned the Non-Aligned Movement, a vibrant coalition of countries that created a non-western set of alliances and politics, in opposition to the cold war politics of the U.S. and Soviet Union. Amid pressure from the growing Cold War bipolarism, those countries were able to concertedly affirm that they would choose neither the East nor the West but pursue their own path and strategy under the guidance of the “Bandung Principles”.
The core principles of the Bandung Conference were political self-determination, mutual respect for sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in internal affairs, and equality. These issues were of central importance to all participants in the conference, most of which had recently emerged from colonial rule. The governments of Burma, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka co-sponsored the Bandung Conference, and they brought together an additional twenty-four nations from Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
At the close of the Bandung Conference attendees signed a communiqué that included a range of concrete objectives. These goals included the promotion of economic and cultural cooperation, protection of human rights and the principle of self-determination, a call for an end to racial discrimination wherever it occurred, and a reiteration of the importance of peaceful coexistence. The leaders hoped to focus on the potential for collaboration among the nations of the third world, promoting efforts to reduce their reliance on Europe and North America. At the 2005 Summit, the Bandung Principles were enriched and new norms and values were embraced. Those new principles include among others democracy, promotion and protection of human rights and multilateralism. Since then the Bandung Principles have laid guidelines for the NAM nations and have been reflected in the Summits that were conducted later in following years.
The historic conference recently completed 60 years making the commemoration of the success a wave of hope for the member nations. Even after 60 years the principles are critical to reflect on the best ways to tap the practical and normative meanings of the Bandung Principles in the current context of global politics. It is a daunting task to develop a collective understanding, let alone a collective response, to such emerging norms as a right to humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect. One of the Bandung Principles clearly underlines the abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
The member nations have always worked on the main principles of sovereignty, self determination and respect of the member nations. Many of the conferences later carried on were focused on making these member nations self sufficient by enriching the bilateral ties between these nations making sure that they become least dependent on the power bloc nations.
Along with the passing years there have changes in the main thinking point of the NAM maintaining the strict framework similar but thinking on broader perspective including issues like non proliferation of nuclear weapons and pressing on peace propagation amongst the member nations. Issues like women empowerment, education and HIV/AIDS awareness are given a platform to be concerned issues in the member nations.
Member nations commemorated the 60th anniversary by exchanging regards and accounting the success of the movement. A movement that the power blocs assumed to fail in years of its formation has been poignant and ever developing in the present scenario. Estimating its values and paths laid in the first ever meet of nations that excluded powerful nations has come a long way and is hoping to gain success over years and include maximum nations around the globe that are not in favor of being pawns of the powerful nations. From the first meet to the 17th Summit, the success of the organization is worth celebrating.

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