Modi invokes NAM solidarity, calls for ‘new template of globalization’

Underlining a reaffirmation of India’s commitment to the values of the Non-Aligned Movement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a new template of globalization at the virtual NAM summit on May 4.

While the pandemic has shown the limitations of the existing international system, there is an urgent need to create “a new template of globalization” in a post-COVID world based on fairness, equality, and humanity, Mr Modi said. “We need international institutions that are more representative of today’s world. We need to promote human welfare and not focus on economic growth alone. India has long championed such initiatives,” PM Modi said.

Highlighting India’s constructive role in securing the well-being of all people around the world, Mr Modi said that while some countries organized military exercises, India conducted disaster management drills in the region and beyond. He said that initiatives such as International Yoga Day, International Solar Alliance, and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure are aimed at improving the physical and mental health of people, healing the planet from climate change, and protecting humanity from the risks of natural disasters.

“The coronavirus pandemic seems to have kindled a new spark of creativity and resilience in India’s diplomacy. Weeks after he signaled a revival of SAARC by holding a virtual summit to address the pandemic crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hinted at a renewal of the country’s commitment to the Non-Aligned Movement, which is derided by many as a relic of the Cold War,” said Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India and World magazine and India Writes Network. “NAM can help expand counter-corona cooperation in the larger framework of South-South cooperation,” he said.

This was the first time PM Modi participated in a NAM summit — he had skipped attending the NAM summit in 2016 and in 2019.

Terrorism & Fake News Deadly viruses

In an oblique reference to Pakistan, he said that “at a time when the world fights COVID-19, some people are busy spreading other deadly viruses such as terrorism, fake news, and doctored videos to divide communities and countries. But today, I want to focus only on the positives; on what we as a Movement can do together to help the world fight this crisis”.

PM Modi said that the world is facing its most severe crisis in decades, and the Non-Aligned Movement can help promote global solidarity. NAM has been the world’s moral voice, and it must remain inclusive, he said. He urged the grouping to call upon the international community and the WHO to focus on building health-capacity in developing countries so that everyone has access to equitable, affordable, and timely access to health products and technologies. “We should develop a platform for all NAM countries, to pool our experiences, best practices, crisis management protocols, research, and resources,” Mr Modi said.

“In the founding spirit of our Movement, let us aim today to come together, not grow apart. Each of us can be safe from the pandemic only if we all are. Let us work as partners towards an inclusive and cooperative global response,” PM Modi told the gathering.

India’s COVID Fight

Mr Modi said that despite stiff challenges, India has put up a heroic fight against the virus, and proved that with a common goal and determination, it could conquer even the most demanding task. “India accounts for one-sixth of humanity. We are a developing country and a free society. During this crisis, we have shown how democracy, discipline, and decisiveness can come together to create a genuine people’s movement,” PM Modi said.

He cited India’s helping culture to highlight its contribution to help mitigate the global pandemic. “India’s civilization sees the whole world as one family. As we care for our citizens, we are also extending help to other countries,” Mr Modi said.

The NAM conference, themed “United against COVID-19”, was attended by 30 heads of states and governments from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the Caribbean, besides PM Modi. In addition, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, African Union Chairperson Musa Faki Mahamat, EU High Representative Josep Borrell, and WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus, among others, attended the meeting. The event also commemorated the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.

After the Summit, the leaders adopted a declaration underlining the importance of international solidarity in the fight against COVID-19. Leaders also announced the creation of a ‘Task Force’ to identify the needs and requirements of member states through the establishment of a common database reflecting their medical, social, and humanitarian needs in the fight against the virus.

(Sanjeeb Baruah contributed inputs for this article)

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