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India spurns Rice advice on NAM
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 29
Two days after United States secretary of state Condoleeza Rice gave unsolicited advice to New Delhi to dump Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), India today said it was not going to do anything of the sort.

The Ministry of External Affairs extolled the virtues of NAM and said India remained committed to NAM’s ideals. “There can be no question of India’s firm and abiding commitment to non-alignment. The Non-Aligned Movement played a significant role in ending apartheid and colonialism. Today, its relevance continues in promoting South- South cooperation and the democratisation of the international system. India remains committed to its ideals,” MEA spokesman said in a terse statement. Rice had advocated that in order to create a partnership for future and to fully realise it, one had to move past “old ways of thinking and old ways of acting.”

Rice went to question the very relevance of non-alignment. “In some ways, we already have begun to do that. And I know that there are some who still talk about non-alignment in foreign policy. But maybe that made sense during the cold war when the world really was divided into rival camps. Now the question that I would ask is, as fellow democracies with so many interests and principles in common at a time when people of every culture, every race, and every religion are embracing political and economic liberty, what is the meaning of non-alignment?”

“It has lost its meaning. One is aligned not with the interests and power of one bloc or another, but with the values of a common humanity. How can we not afford to join each other, on a global scale, to support opportunity and prosperity and justice and dignity and health and education and freedom and democracy? Oh, there will be differences; differences of policy, differences of tactics, from time to time, differences of strategy.”

Rice underlined India’s multiethnic democracy as its strong point. “… With India, a good and strong emerging multiethnic democracy, there will not be differences about what we are trying to achieve: a world that is freer, a world that is more prosperous, and a world that is more just. We can do this not just bilaterally, but multilaterally as well, working with other free nations like Japan and Australia and Korea and our allies in Europe, working with other large multiethnic, multi-religious democracies like Brazil and Indonesia and South Africa.”

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