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Nepal reasserts significance of non-alignment policy

Nepal reasserts significance of non-alignment policy

Nepal has reasserted its commitment to Non-Alignment Movement’s (NAM) objectives and principles at the Ministerial Meeting of the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement being held in Kampala, Uganda. Addressing the meeting, Foreign Minister NP Saud said the constitution of Nepal itself embraces NAM principles as a basis for its foreign policy.

“We always conduct independent, objective, balanced, and non-aligned foreign policy. We never join any military alliance and never accept to be a part of the security pact of any country,” he said, hinting at the security and strategic pacts of major powers mainly of China and the US.

Over the past few years, there has been a debate in Kathmandu about America’s Indo-Pacific Strategy and State Partnership Program, and China’s Global Security Initiatives. Minister Saud’s statement is in line with Nepal’s commitment to not joining any strategic or military alliances. 

Of late, countries in the Global South, including Nepal, are facing increasing pressure from big powers, mainly the US and China, to choose their sides. Most of the time, they have stayed out of the great-power rivalry.  

The NAM summit is taking place at a time when the world is confronting multiple challenges, from the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war to escalating tensions in the Middle East and China-Taiwan dispute.  

“We are witnessing the worst nightmare in Gaza. We all have been bearing the brunt of the Russia-Ukraine war. To our dismay, geopolitical competition and polarization have resurfaced as defining features of our global political order,” said Saud. He stressed that NAM principles have become more significant than ever.  

Over the past few months, there is a growing debate in Nepal about the revision of non-alignment policy. Some politicians and experts are of the view that in the changing context, the principle of non-alignment is becoming irrelevant. Some have proposed the policy of multi-alignment without elaborating what it entails.

Many of them provide the example of India, which is sending a low-key representation to the NAM summit. But the current government led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has reasserted the importance of non-alignment policy. Dahal himself is attending the conference to demonstrate Nepal’s commitment.

Minister Saud said that NAM, as a strong bloc with 120 countries representing around 60 percent of the world’s population, holds “both majority and moral strengths to devise solutions to global problems that we face today, from conflicts to climate change; economic injustice to social inequality; the digital divide to debt distress, and hunger to disease.”

“NAM must play a pivotal role in promoting multilateralism, defending the UN Charter and international law, finding peaceful solutions to disputes, reforming the global financial architectures, creating a just global economic order for shared affluence,” he added.

Saud also said that NAM should focus on the achievement of SDGs and other Internationally Agreed Development Goals, including the Paris Agreement, in the spirit of leaving no one behind, embracing the power of technology to drive progress for all, and ensuring climate justice for vulnerable countries and regions. 

“We anticipate a robust cooperation framework and renewed partnership with all our development partners and fellow members of NAM, for investment, resources, capacity-building, and technologies in the true spirit of North-South, South-South, and Triangular Cooperation,” he said. 

Nepal is a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement, which was formally established at a summit held on 1-6 Sept 1961 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.