Non – Aligned Movement and Nuclear Politics

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) comprising of 120 members and 17 observer states is the world’s largest political grouping of states engaged on issues related to international security and on account of its numerical strength has the potential to be a constructive force in dealing with many of the most pressing nuclear challenges of the present times. The stance on disarmament has been a recurring theme at all the NAM summits. For the Non Aligned Movement, the return to a multilateral process under international supervision is a precondition for dealing with matters relating to disarmament, arms limitation and control and international security. Another recurring theme pertains to the creation of a greater balance in the conventional armaments and restraint in production and acquisition of conventional arms, and where necessary for their progressive and balanced reduction.
Since the inception of the Non – Aligned Movement, the NAM member states have adhered to the principle of nuclear disarmament and non proliferation A comparison of the 1961 NAM Belgrade Declaration and the recent NAM summits reveal significant elements of continuity and change in NAM perspectives and priorities on the issue of nuclear disarmament. In the First Summit of the Head of States of the Non Aligned Movement held in Belgrade in 1961, it was stated that a radical solution to the present ongoing arms race could be achieved only by means of a general, complete, and strictly internationally controlled disarmament which included prohibition of the production, prohibition, possession, and utilization of nuclear and thermo nuclear arms well as the elimination of equipments and installations for the delivery and placement and operational use of weapons of mass destruction on national territories. Over successive summits, NAM has adhered to this stance and at the recent (16th) NAM Summit held at Tehran (2012), NAM welcomed the adoption of General Assembly Resolution 66/32 on Promotion of multilateralism in the area of disarmament and non- proliferation and at same time expressed deep concern over the slow pace of progress towards nuclear disarmament and the lack of progress by the Nuclear- Weapon States (NWS) to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals in accordance with their relevant multilateral legal obligations and emphasized that progress in nuclear disarmament and nuclear non -proliferation in all its aspects was essential to strengthening international peace and security.
It needs to be mentioned here that though NAM members have to a large extent participated in various non-proliferation initiatives, NAM has strongly opposed unilateral unfair, unnecessary, or disproportionate restrictions imposed by the Western powers on the developing states on the “pretext of containing proliferation risks”. Representing the interests of the developing world, NAM has stressed for the right of conducting peaceful nuclear energy activities provided to the Non Nuclear Weapon State (NNWS) under the Non Proliferation Treaty to use nuclear energy and has recognized the need for a comprehensive multilaterally negotiated instrument prohibiting attacks, or threat of attacks on nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. NAM members have also called for full, effective, and indiscriminate implementation of the articles of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT). In March 2013, Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Mohammad Khazaee on behalf of NAM member states stated that Nuclear disarmament was the highest priority for NAM as the movement only supported peaceful use of nuclear energy, and also highlighted the significance of the NPT and its Review process, enhance genuine and strong commitment by all parties to fully comply with their obligations under the Treaty. NAM In resolving the disputes related to the application of NPT safeguards, NAM has expressed its confidence in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mechanism and recognizes the IAEA as the sole competent authority for verification of the respective safeguards obligations of Member States and stresses that there should be no undue pressure or interference in the Agency’s activities, specially its verification process, which would jeopardize the efficiency and credibility of the Agency
Considering that the NAM is the largest forum that collectively asserts the voice of the marginalized global south, it is crucially important to engage NAM more constructively in tackling a variety of pressing nuclear disarmament, proliferation, peaceful-use and terrorism challenges. The emphasis of NAM on promotion of nuclear use for peaceful developmental purposes and support for multilateral disarmament machinery and greater adherence to international treaties entails that the Western world should devote greater efforts to recognizing these principles and forge avenues of collective policy initiatives on the issues pertaining to nuclear disarmament.

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